Wednesday, June 19, 2024

“All the qualities we were looking for” – Arteta lauds White

Mikel Arteta says Ben White’s character and his ability on and off the ball were key factors in his decision to sign the centre-back from Brighton this summer.

After a Covid-interrupted start to life at the Emirates, the £50 million recruit has shown clear signs that he’s growing in confidence having formed a strong partnership in defence with Gabriel.

Despite being a doubt for tomorrow’s clash with Leicester due to a stomach bug, the 24-year-old’s form and development were key themes of the manager’s pre-game press conference.

“Obviously, we wanted to recruit somebody that could straightaway and naturally adapt to the way we want to play,” said Arteta when asked about what the player brings to the team.

“Ben had all the qualities that we were looking for. He’s happy to defend open spaces, he’s really good in duels, he has a huge personality to play the way we demand and to make the process with the ball in different ways against different kinds of press, or when they don’t press and he has time on the ball to make the right decisions.

“And he has the anger and I really liked his character when I met him and that’s why we made the decision to sign him.”

White caused a stir last week when he admitted that he wasn’t particularly interested in watching football in his spare time. For his part, Arteta, a dedicated student of the game, made clear that it’s not something that concerns him nor something he would force on a player.

“There are phases in a career of a footballer that he goes through where there is more focus on other things than football,” said the boss.

“I met people who don’t watch a lot of football but they watch all their games three times and others who don’t want to watch themselves play but can watch any other game. You have to find the right balance.

“For me, the important thing is that he shows the passion to play the game every single day, to train and to have the enjoyment of playing football, which he has, and then the way he competes and the way he wants to improve.

“If we think this [watching other games] is better, it’s something we’ll discuss with him but at the moment, what he’s doing is working fine for him.”

He added: “It has to come naturally, like anything. If you force a player to do something he’s not interested in outside here, it’s very, very difficult.

“Hopefully, you can fit something within his body that can create, okay, I want to start to look at this in a different way, in a different league, in a different team and try to fill that sheet. Sometimes it happens.”

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Looking like a great buy. I was worried he wasn’t tall enough but he seems to have lots of good skills and Tomi helps in that respect.

Looking foward to him growing and playing for us for many years.


A big part of the excellence of the buy comes down to him being better than saliba. I agree he is really starting to impress, against villa he was great, but at his price he has to basically be world class, and considering the guy we had, I can’t be sold (yet) that is a great purchase even though he looks like a really great addition to the team.

The Beast

I think his price is more of a reflection on the market than whether or not he can be considered world class.

I wouldn’t consider Ben Chilwell world class, decent as he is for Chelsea, and I don’t really hear anyone claiming that he has to be to justify his price tag even though he cost the same.


Harry “slab head” Maguire anyone?
OK, never mind…


So what your saying is money shouldn’t matter in football and transfer? Cost has no influence when assessing a transfer? And I mean Chilwell might be a bit better than decent, 1st team regular on the EPL leaders and UCL title holders. We spend like a top 4 team and we get the results of a mid-table team. I think some questions a fair. I truly hope White becomes world-class (he’s starting to look good!), but IMO he needs to to justify the transfer because we have another young CB that was already on the books that is putting in… Read more »

Man Manny

United’s Maguire was £80m; he should be winning the ballon do’r by your reasoning.


I love the composition of our whole backbone now. Cowboy Bebop on the right, Ben White with his pace and range of passing next to him. The Amazonian Warrior next to him, also wonderful left foot… and Of course we’ve got what seems to be two brilliant left backs. Ramsdale, everything you look for in a modern goalkeeper.. and he’s got that English passion!!!!! (s but also not s) he’s nailed on for becoming Englands number 1. England haven’t had a good goalkeeper since we last had a gunner in goal for them. I can’t remember the last time we’ve… Read more »


Spike speigel!


Arteta has been sounding more philosophical lately – almost Wenger-like. I like it as it contributes to my – largely unjustified I fear – vision of The Arsenal as a ‘special’ club.

In this regard, Betsy’s recent interview with the Athletic was great too.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

White has impressed me at times.
It will be interesting to see how far his career goes. I see Gabriel eventually being one of Europe’s best defenders, at some point. I don’t see that in White though.


Might be unpopular but I really like the idea of signing players based on character as well as technical ability. Ramsdale is a prime example of this and how his leadership is benefitting the defence.

The Beast

I’d say it makes a pretty big impact on younger squads like ours where we’re gonna inevitably lack some big game experience.

Probably makes less of a difference with the L’pools & City’s of the wolrd though. Or maybe with all that experience comes character?

djourou's nutmeg

i’ve always tought this is very important, also when thinking about selling. people always said ‘sell luiz, sell xhaka, sell bellerin’ just because of their performances on the pitch and never thinking on what else they might add to the team.

Bai Blagoi

Wasn’t he Benjamin White?


Or as Alan Davies and Tuesday Club boys call him, ‘Jemima’

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