Liverpool sent Ben White Brighton message over possible January swoop after Van Dijk blow

Liverpool would have to pay a huge fee to land Ben White in the January transfer window but Jurgen Klopp needs a more experienced centre-back than the Brighton ace anyway. That’s the view of ex-Leeds striker Noel Whelan.

Whelan watched White regularly last season with the 23-year-old playing every minute of Leeds’ Championship title-winning campaign.

The Yorkshire club sought to bring White back to Elland Road but had multiple bids rejected by the Seagulls including one thought to be worth up to £30million.

Instead, the future England hopeful signed a new four-year contract at the Amex Stadium.

Liverpool are among the clubs to have kept a close eye on White over the past 12 months in particular, though they did not pursue him in the summer transfer window.

Yet the Merseyside outfit could launch a move for a defender in January after the news of Virgil van Dijk’s injury, which looks set to keep him out until next season.

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The Dutchman has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and in his absence Liverpool have just two senior central defenders in Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.

While Fabinho can deputise at the back, Liverpool have been tipped to sign another centre-back in the winter window, but Whelan believes they should look at an alternative to White, who he thinks would cost a massive figure amid rumours Brighton would demand around £50m for his services.

“I don’t think Brighton would sell him,” Whelan told Football Insider.

“They have tied him down and he is playing regularly so I do not think they will look to him, quite frankly.

“Brighton have already dug their heels in. They see him as their player for the future. That is why he signed a new contract.

“I would be really surprised if that deal materialises. If he is going to be prized away it would take a hell of a lot of money to do so.

“I think Liverpool need somebody with a bit more experience.”

Instead, White thinks a player like Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly – long linked to Manchester City and Manchester United – would be a better fit.

The Senegal centre-back, 29, would not come cheaply having established himself as one of Europe’s best centre-halves while in Italy.

“Koulibaly is fantastic and he is still at Napoli,” he said. “Maybe he is somebody that they need to look at.

“He would bring them that leadership. He is a real presence at the back and would be worth the money.

“Give him an opportunity in the Premier League. Go after him in the January window.”

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Discussing whether Liverpool might use the January window to sign a new defender, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said this week: “We will see how we react with it.

“We are still a little bit sensitive with the situation which you [the media] are obviously not.

“In the moment we are in a completely different mood to you. The first question people ask now is ‘what are you doing in the transfer market?’

“We have known since yesterday (Monday) we don’t have our vice captain and the best centre-half in the world is not playing for us for a long time. We will see how long.

“We work on solutions for now. From a specific moment on we will try to find solutions for the future, but I have no idea how they will look at this moment.”

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