Arsenal still need to sign the ideal alternative for Gabriel Magalhaes at left centre-back, but the player must also be versatile to be available in other positions. Lisandro Martinez seemed to be the main target but a deal never managed to materialise.
According to The Athletic, Arsenal's priority was Martinez due to the 24-year-old's ability to play at centre-back and left-back. Martinez was reportedly keen on a move to the Emirates Stadium, and Ajax are rumoured to have rejected a bid in the region of £25million.
However, Manchester United swooped in and signed the Argentine, which left the Gunners unable to sign a player in this position during the summer. Edu is reportedly targeting Milan Skriniar from Inter Milan as the ideal defensive signing, but Gabriell Magalhaes and William Saliba's recent dominance shows why a younger Evan Ndicka would be a more useful incoming than Skriniar.
90min reported that Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City are all interested in signing the Skriniar in January. Paris-Saint Germain were also heavily linked to the defender before the end of the summer transfer window, with RMC Sport claiming that the French side attempted a £60.5million deal.
However, with January fast approaching, Edu has another chance to sign a player in this position and the deal incoming could be Ndicka after claims that the Gunners are interested in the defender.
The Frenchman’s contract is set to expire at the end of the 2022/2023 season, which means that the Gunners can sign him on a cut-price deal in January or on a pre-contract for a free transfer for him to join at the end of campaign. The Daily Express have quoted the defender to cost around £7million for a January deal.
Arteta could be following Leipzig’s blueprint from when they had both Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahim Konate as their starting centre-backs. The Spaniard could utilise a similar pattern by having William Saliba and Ndicka in the backline.
Both of the Leipzig defenders were French youth internationals, but Julien Nagelsmann had them starting alongside each other in the Bundesliga, which helped the team qualify for the Champions League on multiple occasions. This could be Arteta’s thinking behind the potential signing of Ndicka amid Saliba's successful start to the season.
Not only does this prove why Ndicka would be a more useful signing, but the strong defensive partnership between Saliba and Gabriel this season has been a major reason why Arsenal currently lead the Premier League table. Signing a player of Skriniar’s stature would mean he is owed a starting spot and could disrupt the growing central defensive relationship at Arsenal.
With Ndicka still developing in his career, it would not require him to start the majority of the matches, as it would for Skriniar, which highlights why Ndicka would be the cheaper alternative that makes more sense in the long run.