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Roles played by Arteta & Saka in Ben White’s Arsenal switch revealed

By Conor Laird Published: July 31, 2021 4:21 pm

Last Updated: July 31, 2021 5:23 pm

An insight into the respective roles played by Mikel Arteta and Bukayo Saka in Ben White’s Arsenal switch has come to the fore on Saturday.

Saka the inside man The headline news on the red half of North London on Friday of course came in the form of White’s long-awaited arrival.

On the back of weeks of rampant speculation, the Gunners finally confirmed that the highly-regarded defender had put pen to paper on a ‘long-term’ contract with the club.

The signing pictures always look much nicer, right?

Here’s a better angle pic.twitter.com/oPNINz9Y3f

— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 30, 2021

White is understood to have set Arsenal back a fee of around £50 million, a club record for a defender.

However, as since revealed online, this only came after the board at the Emirates were forced to watch on as no fewer than five of the club’s offers were rebuffed by their counterparts at the Amex.

The key driving factor throughout negotiations, though, proved Mikel Arteta.

As revealed by reliable outlet The Athletic, the Gunners boss made clear to those above him in North London that White represented ‘the man and the player best suited to bolstering their defence and transforming their ailing fortunes’.

In turn, Arteta remained in constant contact with the Brighton star’s representatives, utilising ‘in-depth telephone conversations’ to make clear exactly where he saw White fitting into Arsenal’s backline.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta on the touchline during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. (Photo by Andy Rain/PA Images via Getty Images)

Not only that, but the Spaniard even made use of youngster Buyako Saka – who trained alongside White with England during Euro 2020 – to secure feedback on his latest addition’s talents.

Saka’s assessment, in turn, is said to have proven ‘overwhelmingly positive’.

Five bids rejected by #BHAFC before striking a deal

£50m transfer includes a sell-on clause

Saka gave Arteta his assessment of White during Euros

#AFC‘s new No 4 was club’s main summer target

@AndyNaylorBHAFC & @gunnerblog & @amylawrence71https://t.co/mnnMxxyhUu

— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) July 30, 2021

Joining Arteta’s ranks With White’s status as an Arsenal player now confirmed, it will of course not be long before the 23-year-old is seen lining out in the club’s colours.

On Saturday, though, the Gunners faithful were treated to the next best thing, with the club having taken to social media to post a series of photos of their latest signing in training alongside his new teammates:

Settling right in pic.twitter.com/s7P2fCXDmr

— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 31, 2021

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