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Ben White confirms desire to extend Arsenal contract

Ben White confirms desire to extend Arsenal contract
© Reuters
Arsenal defender Ben White confirms that he wants to sign a new contract with the Gunners, who are said to be making progress in talks with his entourage.

Arsenal defender Ben White has confirmed that he wants to extend his contract in North London and is keen to remain at the Emirates for as long as possible.

The former Brighton & Hove Albion man has unexpectedly thrived as a right-back since joining the club in 2021, having transitioned from a central role to his current wide position.

Receiving numerous plaudits for his consistent displays, White did not miss a single Premier League game during Arsenal's 2022-23 title charge, starting 36 of them and coming up with two goals and five assists.

The 26-year-old enters Saturday's London derby with Chelsea having played every minute of the 2023-24 Premier League season so far, scoring his first goal of the new term in a 4-0 thrashing of Bournemouth last month.

Owing to his importance to the Arsenal XI, White is understood to be in line for a new-and-improved contract at the Emirates Stadium, although his current terms do not expire until the summer of 2026.

Ben White celebrates scoring for Arsenal on March 4, 2023© Reuters

Talks between the club and White's representatives are believed to be progressing positively, and the defender has affirmed that he wants to continue in red and white indefinitely, having found a home in North London with his wife.

"Yeah, of course," White told Sky Sports News when asked whether he wanted to pen fresh terms. "I want to stay at Arsenal for as long as I can, stay at the highest level and push this club back to where it needs to be.

"Whenever that's spoken about, it's an amazing feeling that someone wants you. I've still got a few years left on my current contract, so even to be speaking about it is a nice feeling.

"Arsenal is the only team I've been at for more than a year. It definitely helps. Obviously, I'm getting older. I've got a wife now which is slightly different to when I was younger. Things have changed in my life.

"My wife is from around here, so it's ideal for her, and it's just an amazing club to come into every day. I think I can take things from all the clubs I've been at, but this is by far my favourite."

Ben White celebrates scoring for Arsenal on April 1, 2023© Reuters

The integration of William Saliba alongside Gabriel Magalhaes saw White shifted to his effective right-back role, where he has fended off competition from Takehiro Tomiyasu amid the Japan international's fitness woes.

Despite earning high praise for his displays, White has admitted that playing as a full-back for Mikel Arteta is "completely different" to any other manager, as the Spaniard demands his wide defenders to cover a range of various positions.

"I could play full-back, I could play anywhere across the backline or in centre mid, but playing full-back the way he wants is, I think, completely different to any other manager," White added.

"To play full-back for him, you've got to be a centre mid, a centre-back, a winger, a No 10. So, it's been about developing the whole of my game, rather than just as a full-back or a centre-back."

White is set to make his 96th appearance for Arsenal in Saturday's clash with Chelsea, where victory would take the Gunners above Tottenham Hotspur and up to first place in the Premier League table until Spurs' meeting with Fulham on Monday.

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