Graham Potter would like Ben White to still wear a Brighton shirt but accept the money talks.
White was the Seagulls’ Player of the Season last season before moving to Arsenal for £50million.
The England international is set to reunite with his former club when Albion visit the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
While head coach Potter insists Brighton do not want to be seen as a selling club, he accepts that receiving a significant fee is vital for their future development.
“In an ideal world, if you’re playing with no finances (we would have kept it) – but it’s pretty big finances,” Potter said of White.
“Granted, if the president (Tony Bloom) was sitting next to me, he would say they’re pretty important.
“We’ve been through Covid, all kinds of challenges as a football club, and when you get this type of offer it’s hard to refuse – not just for the football club but for the individual themselves.
“Someone told me that you have to understand where you are in the football pyramid.
“It doesn’t mean we’ll sell all of our players, but when the right offer comes in, that’s how we grow as a club, how we grow as a team, so it’s really exciting, I think.
“But, take the finances out, I’d be very happy to have Ben with us.”
White’s development into a Premier League star included successive loan spells with Newport, Peterborough and Leeds in League Two, League One and the Championship respectively.
After just one season of top-flight action, he made his international debut last June while still under contract with Albion before being included in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad as a replacement for Trent Alexander- Arnold for injury, then move to the Gunners.
Potter believes the transfer has benefited all parties and remains a huge admirer of the player.
“As I said when we made the transfer, he has everything to be a modern-day centre-back,” he said.
“Obviously you have to have a style of play that suits him, which I think Arsenal do, so thanks to them for identifying that and then having the courage to pay the fee. It was one of those win-win-win situations.
“He’s very athletic, very fast, very resilient in terms of playing every game, reliable in terms of performance level.
“If you’re a team that has the majority of the ball or want to be proactive in games, it’s important to have defenders who can manage the space behind because a lot of teams attack wide spaces.
“So having someone like Ben can help them.”