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Shaun Wright-Phillips has boldly claimed that Ben White is a better signing than Raphael Varane as the former Man City star excited at the £50million man’s arrival at Arsenal.
White, 23, sealed his mega-money move to the Gunners following the Euros this summer, having impressed at Brighton last season and under Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds in 2019-20.
Eyebrows have been raised, however, at the huge fee Arsenal have shelled out for the Englishman, particularly given the backdrop of Manchester United signing four-time Champions League winner Varane for £42m.
But Wright-Phillips, whose father Ian is hailed as an Arsenal legend, believes that Mikel Arteta has landed the better defender, lavishing praise on White’s ‘old-school mentality.
‘One thing I thought Arsenal missed was a defender like him,’ Wright-Phillips told the newsmen. ‘He’s got old an old-school mentality but he can play football as well.’
Asked if White will do better at Arsenal than Varane at United, he added: ‘Yes I do. I know it’s a big statement, but he is used to the Premier League and he is used to defending a lot for Brighton, week in, week out.
‘Varane has come into a whole new league and he is going to put under immense pressure.’
Asked which of the two defenders he would rather sign if he had the choice, Wright-Phillips claimed: ‘At this moment, I would say Ben White.’
White arrives in North London with big expectations to help fix Arsenal’s leaky and, on occasion, calamitous defence.
Despite boasting one of the best defensive records in the league last season, comical defending proved to be the Gunners’ undoing as Arteta’s side finished in the eighth position – failing to qualify for European football of any kind.
Meanwhile, Varane is the missing piece of United’s defence that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has long sought, with Victor Lindelof proving to be an unreliable partner for £80m man Harry Maguire.
Varane’s vast experience – in which he has won all there is to win at club level, as well as the World Cup – is hoped to help United finally win silverware under the Norwegian.