Brighton boss Graham Potter has backed defender Ben White to keep his feet firmly on the ground despite talk of a £50million January move to Premier League champions Liverpool.
The 23-year-old, who has also lined up in a defensive midfielder role for the Seagulls this season, was the subject of three increasingly lucrative rejected bids from promoted Leeds during the summer transfer window following a hugely successful loan spell at Elland Road.
White’s decision to sign a four-year contract at the AMEX Stadium in September, however, has done little to quell the speculation that he could leave the south coast club with Anfield touted as a possible destination in the wake of Virgil van Dijk’s serious knee injury, although his manager is confident he will not lose his focus.
Speaking ahead of Monday’s clash with Southampton, Potter said: “I have no worries about Ben getting his head turned.
“He is a level-headed guy who wants to play football and of course he wants to do it at the highest level, just like you want all those players to have those ambitions.
“He gets on with his work and he was totally professional in the summer despite the noise from outside the club, which you can’t control.
“He knows that, he’s a smart guy and we will carry on with our work and help him to enjoy his football, which is the most important thing.”
Mali international midfielder Yves Bissouma, 24, is another man to have found himself thrust into the headlines in recent weeks amid suggestions that Liverpool and Arsenal could be ready to fight it out for his signature.
However, Potter remains relaxed as he concentrates simply on improving the players he currently has at his disposal.
He said: “I have never been a coach that worries about losing a player. If you worry about losing players to teams higher up the hierarchy – because that’s ultimately what it is – and the club thinks selling the player is the right thing to do, then it’s a result of doing something well, I don’t think you should ever worry about that.
“It’s part of football and a lot of it is talk, speculation or nonsense. There’s always truth as well somewhere, but I am not worried about anything. I am just helping the players to improve, to get them to the highest level of performance that I can and then we will see.”
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