Premier League • England

Mikel Arteta eyes ideal William Saliba defensive partner as bargain Arsenal transfer talk grows

Paulo Otavio challenging Evan Ndicka

Arsenal are in the hunt for Eintracht Frankfurt defender Evan Ndicka ahead of the expiry of his contract in 2023, according to a report.

Ndicka has been with Eintracht Frankfurt since 2018, when he joined them from Auxerre. However, he could be leaving the Europa League champions in 2023. His contract is due to expire in June, by which time he could broaden his horizons.

The centre-back has already been linked with a number of Premier League clubs. Now, another reminder has emerged that Arsenal could be in contention to sign him.

According to Il Romanista, Arsenal are one of the main rivals to another of Ndicka’s suitors, AS Roma, in the battle for his signature.

There is said to be a lot of competition from within the Premier League, where Arsenal appear to be at the front of the queue.

The Gunners already have William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Benjamin White and Rob Holding to call upon at centre-back. In addition, Takehiro Tomiyasu could provide cover, despite naturally being a full-back.

However, Arsenal could be considering a move for Ndicka to add to their options in 2023. By then, they will hope to have regained Champions League status for next season too, having come out of the blocks flying in the current campaign.

Therefore, they could be an attractive destination to a player who will have a few options to pick from if he does run down his deal with Eintracht Frankfurt.

During his four-and-a-bit years with the Bundesliga club so far, Ndicka has appeared in 153 matches across all competitions. From those outings, he has provided 10 goals and nine assists.

As a left-footed centre-back, he represents something of a commodity. Gabriel is the only member of his department for Arsenal who favours using that side. Perhaps Ndicka could usurp him as the main partner for Saliba in their centre-back pairing.

Arsenal not alone in Evan Ndicka pursuit

Ndicka has already played 14 times for Eintracht Frankfurt this season, including starts in each of their first three Champions League group matches.

However, as noted, Arsenal would not have a clear run at signing Ndicka. The report comes from a source covering interest from Roma, who do not have any left-footed centre-backs at all.

Jose Mourinho’s side signed some high-profile free agents in 2022. Paulo Dybala and Andrea Belotti were among those to arrive at Stadio Olimpico. Roma might repeat the strategy next summer, which is why they are looking at Ndicka.

Interestingly, the report also claims Roma are keeping tabs on a midfielder who will be familiar to Arsenal fans. Houssem Aouar of Lyon – long linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium – has become of interest to them.

There is no suggestion from Il Romanista that Aouar might remain on Arsenal’s radar. Indeed, the report claims Roma’s path to signing the 24-year-old might be more straight forward.

Hence, Aouar might end up as one that got away for Arsenal. But they still seem like a suitor to be taken seriously in the battle for Ndicka.

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