Xavi ‘convinced’ by Arsenal target as Barcelona express ‘interest’ in soon-to-be free agent

Jason Soutar
Reported Barcelona target Evan Ndicka during a match

According to reports, Eintracht Frankfurt defender Evan Ndicka is attracting interest from La Liga giants FC Barcelona amidst rumours he has agreed a deal with Arsenal.

The French centre-half is out of contract at the end of the season and does not appear to be willing to extend his stay in Frankfurt.

He helped his side win the Europa League last season before guiding them to the last 16 of the Champions League this term, where they will face Serie A leaders Napoli.

Italian outlet Il Romanista reported in December that the Gunners have agreed a deal to sign Ndicka when he becomes a free agent this summer.

This source seems a bit random as they come from Italy and are reporting on an English team signing a Frenchman who plays in Germany; however, he was linked with AS Roma, who apparently lost out to Arsenal.

Another Italian publication reported that the 23-year-old would move to north London with Calciomercato claiming a deal is close to being agreed.

The same report did state that this could result in Gabriel Magalhaes joining Juventus, which kind of makes the Ndicka part look like complete rubbish.

While a deal probably is not agreed with no outlets or journalists in England saying this is the case, it appears Arsenal are facing competition from Barcelona.

According to German outlet SPORT1, the Catalan club are ‘seriously interested’ in Ndicka, who has made it clear he will not renew his Frankfurt contract.

The Bundesliga side’s sports director Markus Krosche has not given up hope, it is said, despite the player telling the club he will not stay beyond this summer, as per Frankfurter Rundschau.

SPORT1 ‘can not confirm’ whether or not this is true and it is claimed that Frankfurt still ‘have a chance’ of renewing Ndicka’s contract, though it is a ‘slim’ chance.

The 23-year-old Frenchman is not open to a departure this month and wants to see out the season in Germany, which obviously suits the club.

It is added that Sevilla had been hopeful of signing Ndicka in the winter transfer window and were prepared to ‘pull out all the stops and dig up funds’, but it is extremely unlikely a transfer will materialise.

Barcelona – who absolutely love a free transfer these days – are eyeing a move for Ndicka and can negotiate a pre-contract with the player’s deal six months from expiring.

The Catalan side faced Frankfurt in last season’s Europa League and manager Xavi was ‘convinced’ by the French defender over both legs.

As well as Barca, it is said that Arsenal, Juventus and ‘above all’, AC Milan ‘have their eyes’ on the player.

Ndicka is a very desirable player due to his age, contract situation, ability, and the fact he is left-footed.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta wants to provide more depth for Gabriel, his only left-footed central defender, and Ndicka would be a near-perfect acquisition.

A recent report from Bild stated that Frankfurt have put a three-and-a-half-year deal on the table and will make Ndicka one of their highest earners in a bid to tempt him into staying.

Having said that, it is unlikely that Frankfurt would be able to match the sort of salary Arsenal can offer him.

Teams competing for the Premier League title need to have great depth in defence, something Manchester City and Liverpool have, and something Arsenal do not.

Arteta’s only back-up central defender is Rob Holding, so signing a new one this year seems imperative.

Benjamin White is a natural centre-half and could move from right-back to play there should Gabriel or William Saliba pick up an injury or suspension.

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