Brighton, Leeds, Chelsea and Celtic must solve Ben White, Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy dilemmas swiftly

It's no secret that Brighton are currently well stocked in defensive areas but who will still be at the Amex come the end of the transfer window remains a tricky issue and one Albion must navigate carefully

Ben White, Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk are all players in demand
Ben White, Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk are all players in demand

It seems certain that at least one Albion defender will depart and possibly more. Here's an assessment of Albion's defensive quandary and the latest transfer news regarding skipper Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy, Ben White and Martin Montoya, along with a look at Brighton's other defensive options, including new signing Joel Veltman.

Lewis Dunk: The 28 year-old club captain is contracted until 2023 but each transfer window brings a fresh round of speculation.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Chelsea have been heavily linked with the defender and according to reports they are willing to pay £40m sign Albion's best player.

Dunk was excellent for Albion once again last season and losing his services would be a huge blow for Graham Potter's team building plans. Potter said last season that he knew Dunk was a top player but it wasn't until he worked with him day in and day out that he realised just how good he was.

This is a an extremely tricky area for Albion as £40m for a 28-year-old makes financial sense and also would the club stand in the way of a player who may wish to test his skills at the top end of the table and the Champions League?

Dunk has served Albion so well over the years but with the emergence of Ben White (if they can keep him), this could be the time Albion finally bid farewell to their skipper.

Ben White: The 22-year-old is contracted until 2022 and once again, this another complex negotiation for the club.

Excellent during his loan spell at Leeds last season and the newly promoted club have made three bids for White, the last of which was said to be £25m.

Brighton quite rightly refused them all. Firstly, why would they strengthen a direct rival? Secondly, they value White at far more than £25m and thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, Graham Potter wants him in his first team.

Last season Albion shelled out £25m to prise the Champions best defender Adam Webster away from Bristol City. Webster adapted well to the Premier League but the general feeling is that White can be even better.

A worry for Albion fans remains that the club's improved contract offer to White remains unsigned and while that's the case, Leeds and a number of other clubs will be on high alert.

Potter is a huge admirer and sees him as a key figure for Albion this coming season. Brighton continue to bat away the offers but quite what the club's stance would be if a large offer arrived from a top six club remains unclear.

If Dunk departs, White will be even more crucial to Albion's future plans but the dream scenario for Albion supporters would be to see White and Dunk line-up in the same team next season.

Shane Duffy: The 28-year-old is contracted until 2023 but seems likely to leave this summer.

Duffy was far from a first team regular last season as Graham Potter favoured Adam Webster who he felt was better suited to his favoured style of playing out from the back.

The centre back is however a popular figure at Albion and many fans would be sorry to see the Irishman depart. He's a fully committed defender who would improve the defence of many Premier League teams.

Duffy is sure to be in demand if he does leave. Celtic, Burnley, West Brom and West Ham are said to be keen but the only firm enquiry has so far arrived from West Brom.

The Ireland international is however said to be a boyhood Celtic fan and bookmakers have him odds on to join Neil Lennon's Scottish champions.

He played a huge part in Brighton's recent history and although it would be sad to see him depart, it could well be the right time for the club and the player.

Martin Montoya: The 29-year-old right back is contracted with Albion until 2022. The former Barcelona man has been a steady performer since his arrival from Valencia in 2018 but he is tipped to leave this summer with Real Betis of La Liga a likely destination.

He made 13 appearances at Betis in 2016 while on loan from Barcelona and they are reportedly keen to take him back on a permanent basis this summer. Montoya made 27 appearances for Albion last season but slipped down the pecking order following the arrival of the excellent Tariq Lamptey from Chelsea.

Chances could now be limited at the Amex for the Spaniard and the summer signing of Joel Veltman from Ajax, who can also play rightback, could well limit his opportunities further.

Montoya received some stick from the fans last season which was probably slightly harsh.

Joel Veltman: The 28-year-old joined on a free transfer from Ajax on a three year deal and could well prove to be a clever piece of business for the Albion.

The Dutch international is at his best on the right side of a centre back pairing but can also play at right back and also the right side of a defensive trio.

Davy Propper apparently helped convince Veltman, who played more than 200 times for Ajax, to join the Albion. The defender is known as a consistent performer and very comfortable in possession.

He has Champions League experience and suits Graham Potter's style of playing out from the back. He's certainly not the type to lump long balls up to the striker.

Conclusion: Ideally Albion would love to keep Lewis Dunk and Ben White and they would form the cornerstone of Graham Potter's defence for next season.

Adam Webster and Dan Burn proved reliable performers at the top level last campaign while the quality addition of Veltman will add further competition at centre back and right back.

Tariq Lamptey, with his genuine pace, offers something completely different while Brighton will still hope to strengthen at leftback before the end of the window.

If they can keep Dunk and White, it looks increasingly likely that Duffy will be allowed to leave if the right offer arrives. It could also be exit time for Montoya.

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton: In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Stay safe, and best wishes.