Arsenal will surely be a busy outfit during the summer transfer window as they will likely have to respond to missing out on a surprise Premier League title, having led the division for much of the 2022/23 campaign.
Declan Rice is among the primary targets to bolster their threadbare engine room and he won’t come cheap, with West Ham United commanding in excess of £70m.
The Gunners have plenty of needs, though, and perhaps they ought to put more eggs in the defensive basket as arguably, their failure to have strength in depth at centre-back has cost them dearly.
Injuries to Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba meant the burden was stowed upon Rob Holding, who to his credit has done an admirable job but he isn’t the title-leading presence you want in the big games, such as against Liverpool at Anfield and Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Who is Evan Ndicka?
Whether he remains contract to the club past the summer is irrelevant, he must be replaced in and around the periphery of the lineup and Evan Ndicka, who is set to leave Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt on a free transfer, could prove to be a bargain solution, especially if Edu Gaspar and co pull the trigger on Rice.
Back in December, reports in Italy suggested that the Gunners had already agreed a deal to sign the Frenchman in June, whilst as recently as last month, the Mirror claimed that they were monitoring him ahead of the summer.
Once lauded as a “great talent” by scout Antonio Mango, it’s rare that a 23-year-old gem comes so freely available on the market but one team’s mistake is another team’s gain and Arsenal must ensure they win the race for his signature over the likes of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.
The 6 foot 4 Frenchman has been a regular fixture for the German outfit over the past few seasons, starting 32 times in the league last term and 26 so far this season, as well as all eight of their Champions League encounters too, via WhoScored. These are impressive considering he’s far from reaching his peak as a central defender.
His potential and quality has been highly praised by those around him in the past too, as ex-Frankfurt man Alexander Schur once claimed that his former teammate “shows no nerves” and “plays with great authority,” via Bundesliga.com. And that may also help in his adaptation to the Premier League.
To further bolster that, the young colossus is also comparable – per FBref’s statistical model – to Manchester United star and multi-UCL winner Raphael Varane, who – when fit – has more than looked the part following his switch from Real Madrid.
By bringing in some much-needed quality to Mikel Arteta’s defence, the Gunners could well be City’s nearest challengers for the title once more and perhaps this time, they can get it over the line with Ndicka proving to be a far more valuable backup or starter than Holding.
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