Over the past few days, several outlets have begun reporting on Arsenal agreeing to sign Evan Ndicka on a free transfer this coming summer. Over the past few transfer windows, Ndicka was a regular transfer rumor link with the club so the connection does have a history. Now with his contract set to expire in June and Arsenal looking to add one more center-back, this deal almost sounds too easy.
Who is Evan Ndicka?
Ndicka is a 23-year-old French center-back currently playing for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga. He developed in the AJ Auxerre academy system eventually signing with their senior side in 2017. That season and the next he primarily played in Ligue 2, the second tier in France.
Eintracht Frankfurt signed him for around $6 million heading into the 2018/19 season where he would instantly become a starter for their Bundesliga and Europa League campaigns. Since then he’s played over 100 times in the German top flight, scoring nine goals and providing seven assists. Add in his experience in the Champions and Europa Leagues, and you can see why he’s now valued at $33 million.
Filling an unexpected gap
While Ndicka seems to be on a proper development trajectory and has the type of experience Arsenal tend to target lately, the need still has to be there. This past summer when it was finally confirmed that William Saliba would be joining the squad it left Mikel Arteta with four center-back options - Saliba, Gabriel, Ben White & Rob Holding.
However, when the Gunners began the season it was Ben White at right-back. A position he has maintained through the first half of the season to help see Arsenal to the top of the Premier League and earn himself a spot on England’s World Cup roster. While both he and Takehiro Tomiyasu can play CB, Arteta clearly prefers them on the right. And with Cedric’s eventual exit (maybe a January loan?) Arsenal is covered there but could use another CB to bolster their depth.
Make the deal
Now Arteta and Edu could ultimately decide that they want to use White or Tomiyasu back in the CB role and focus on a right-back this summer. But not only is that doubtful, but it also seems unnecessary at the moment. White and Tomiyasu work in Arteta’s system as the RB and the results have come. Let Cedric exit in the summer and instead focus on the academy’s best right-back prospect for depth beyond that pair.
Ndicka would come in at the right age and with plenty of top-flight experience. If Arsenal makes the Champions League next season the club will want as many players capable of starting across Europe and the Premier League. And how many times has Arsenal lost a valuable talent on a free transfer? It would be nice to see that trend reversed. Adding Ndicka makes financial sense and would leave the backline two-deep across all four roles. Make the deal and switch focus farther up the pitch.