Yeah, I think this is a really good point. Mustafi for example always put up strong, sometimes elite defensive numbers but lacked the intangibles and positioning to back it up with. I suppose stats are just one of the tools that fans have now to assess potential transfers without seeing lots and lots of a player live.I think you have to be careful with stats with defenders. For example even though it pains me to say it take one of the best central defensive partnerships of the last 20 years, Ferdinand and Vidic. I don't have stats but going from memory I would imagine Ferdinand had pretty poor aerial stats as Vidic was the one who attacked most things that came in the air. And vice versa I bet Vidic's distribution and passing stats weren't that great as that was where Ferdinand excelled.
I haven't seen Ben White or Brighton enough to really judge but central defence is all about a partnership and he doesn't necessarily need to be a beast in the air if his partner excels at that. Gabriel and Mari are both good in the air so partnered with either he could be absolutely fine.
There's definitely something about White - it's not just Southgate who has rated him highly but lots of other commentators as well. I think it's the price that people are anxious about along with the fact that we have a lot of decent talent at CB already. It's that nagging question that he might not be better than what we already have / would the money be better invested elsewhere?