Arsenal reach next stage of exciting defender pursuit after completing ‘legwork’ of transfer research

Eintracht Frankfurt players Evan N'Dicka and Daichi Kamada Credit: Alamy
Eintracht Frankfurt players Evan N'Dicka and Daichi Kamada Credit: Alamy

A transfer expert has confirmed that Arsenal have done their “due diligence” over signing one of their main defensive targets for 2023.

Arsenal have been relying on a centre-back partnership of Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba so far this season. The former has earned himself a contract extension and the latter could soon follow.

Also available to Mikel Arteta are Benjamin White – who has been featuring at right-back – and Rob Holding. However, bringing in another defender remains on the agenda.

Ideally, Arsenal would like to sign another left footer to provide competition for Gabriel. In that regard, they have identified Eintracht Frankfurt’s Evan Ndicka as a gettable option.

Ndicka is into the final year of his contract with the Bundesliga club, whom he has represented since 2018. As things stand, it looks likely he will be making a free transfer in 2023.

Fabrizio Romano has already confirmed the chances of Ndicka changing clubs are high. However, the transfer expert has warned that Arsenal will not be his only suitors.

Now, a similar story has been echoed by another reporter, Ben Jacobs – who has gone further than Romano by directly referring to Arsenal’s interest.

Jacobs told Give Me Sport: “Arsenal like the player. They’ve certainly done their legwork and their due diligence and their scouting on him.

“There’s a lot of interest in the player, not just from the Premier League but from all across Europe as well.”

Defender deal affordable for Arsenal

Ndicka has also been linked with, for example, Italian side AS Roma. If he does leave the Bundesliga behind, he could be ready to test himself in a third different country, after originally emerging in France with Auxerre.

Arsenal will be hoping the new surroundings he chooses are in north London. However, they will have to work hard to become his most convincing suitor.

In theory, they could arrange a pre-contract agreement with Ndicka from January onwards. There have even been suggestions that Eintracht Frankfurt could cash in for a small fee while they still can.

Elsewhere, it has been claimed that Arsenal will have a budget of £50million to work with in January. As part of their plans, there could be bids for a central midfielder and a winger.

But perhaps there could be enough left over for a lowball offer for Ndicka. Then, they would add further impetus to an in-form squad.

For Ndicka to arrive though, both he and his current club will have to find agreements with Arsenal. For now, the Premier League leaders will be continuing to keep tabs on his situation.

Would Ndicka dislodge Gabriel?

It is interesting that Arsenal are looking at a left-footed defender so soon after tying down Gabriel’s future.

Still, it was something they were exploring in the summer, when Lisandro Martinez was under consideration before he moved to Manchester United instead.

Therefore, there remains a good chance that they will take further steps towards the signing of Ndicka.

If he was to arrive, then the question would be whether he would usurp Gabriel in Arteta’s pecking order.

Ndicka is slightly taller than the Brazilian, and was born two years after him.

So far this season, Ndicka has averaged 0.8 tackles per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga, compared to Gabriel’s 1.5 in the Premier League.

In contrast, Ndicka has averaged more interceptions than Gabriel – 1.1 per 90 minutes as opposed to 0.6 – as well as more clearances (5.3 compared to 4.0).

They are both quite similar in terms of blocks and how often they are dribbled past.

Hence, both seem reasonably matched and would have to fight for their place. It could be the kind of healthy competition that could turn Arsenal’s current upturn in form into long-term success.

READ MORE: Arsenal could eclipse Tottenham in January as Fabrizio Romano drops ‘dynamic’ verdict on potential snare

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