Mikel Arteta has confirmed that Arsenal are working on a new deal for Ben White and says the club “need players like him”.
The 26-year-old has been one of the Spaniard’s most consistent performers over the last couple of years and already stands on the cusp of his 100th appearance for the Gunners.
While he continues to be overlooked by England after leaving the Three Lions’ World Cup camp prematurely, Arteta has no doubts about the £50 million signing’s importance on the domestic front.
“He’s progressed in the right way in the last few years,” said Arteta ahead of Saturday’s trip to Newcastle.
“He had a little bit of a difficult start, which is normal because it was a big jump [from Brighton], there were different expectations and he started to play in different positions different positions but he showed a lot of determination and courage to overcome all of that.
“He has a big personality, I think he copes with pressure really well, he has a lot of quality, gives us different positions and he’s been a key player for us.”
Since joining the Gunners in 2021, White has spoken openly about the fact he’s not a football obsessive. While the media seem to struggle with the idea of a footballer who doesn’t particularly like football, Arteta has no doubts about the 26-year-old’s dedication to his profession.
“He’s a really good character in his own way and the way he presents himself, but he loves football,” he stressed.
“You don’t play that amount of games, the way he trains every day, the way he applies himself, he’s top and we need players like him.”
Arsenal have rewarded a number of key stars with new deals in the last 18 months – Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Magalhaes, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Aaron Ramsdale, William Saliba – and it appears White is the next in line for a pay rise.
“Yeah, we are always trying to keep the squad in a healthy position in any way and the club and Edu especially are working on that,” confirmed Arteta.