William Gallas has questioned the logic behind Arsenal’s decision to sign Ben White for £50million and pointed to Manchester United’s acquisition of Raphael Varane as a reason to criticise the board’s recruitment.
The 23-year-old headed to the Emirates Stadium in a £50million deal from Brighton to secure Mikel Arteta’s top summer target.
That fee that made White the third-most expensive player in the club’s history behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe.
After impressing with Leeds United during their 2019-20 promotion campaign, the centre-back has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame.
He then established himself as a key member of Graham Potter’s side in the Premier League last season and earned a place in England’s Euro 2020 squad, although he did not make an appearance.
But former Arsenal defender Gallas — who spent four years with the club before joining arch rivals Tottenham in 2013 — could not comprehend paying such a fee when Manchester United snapped up Raphael Varane for less.
“It’s difficult for me to understand why Arsenal spent £50million on a player who is yet to prove himself at the top level and at the same time Manchester United can spend around £40million on Varane,” he told GentingBet.
“You have to explain to me how it’s possible. Maybe it’s because Ben White speaks English.
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“Varane is a different class player compared to Ben White. White is still young.
“As I said, he hasn’t proved anything yet. How can you put a £50million price on him?”
White has experienced a tough start to his career with the club after struggling on his debut against Brentford and later tested positive for Covid-19.
He has been a crucial part in the Gunners winning their three last matches in all competitions.
Gallas says he hopes White will prove to be a shrewd acquisition for the Gunners, but reiterated his point that Varane’s experience puts him on another level to White.
“I respect him. I don’t know him,” He added. “I respect him and I hope he will be the great player, but he hasn’t proved anything yet.
“You can’t compare Ben White and Varane, I’m sorry. It’s not possible.
He later added that national bias had nothing to do with his criticism: “It’s not because he’s a fellow Frenchman that I’m talking like this,” He added.
“He comes from Real Madrid. He didn’t come from Brighton, with all respect to them.”
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While Gallas has struggled to understand the decision to pay such a fee, Arteta insists it is merely a long-term investment given White’s young age.
Upon signing the centre-back in July, Arteta said: “Ben is an intelligent defender who is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and his style fits perfectly with us.
“And of course, he is still young, so his age and profile fits with what we are building here.
“We all look forward to Ben playing a central role in our long-term future plans.