Arsenal report: Gunners to land wonderkid defender for FREE to partner William Saliba

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta speaks to William Saliba during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Emirates Stadium on October 09, 2022 in London, England.
(Image credit: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Arsenal are eyeing up a spectacular free transfer to complete their defence. 

Despite sitting top of the Premier League table, the Gunners have looked nervous at the back on a number of occasions this season, with Gabriel coming under fire. The Brazilian has been consistent for much of his career in England but lacks a back-up to challenge his spot and is playing both domestic and European football for Mikel Arteta's side right now.

21-year-old William Saliba has shone alongside Gabriel – and with Arteta favouring a left-footer on that side of the pitch, the opportunity has presented itself for the Basque boss to sort the future of the defence and partner his burgeoning star with his ideal foil. 

Arsenal defender William Saliba applauds the fans after the Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur on 1 October, 2022 at the Emirates Stadium in London, United Kingdom

William Saliba has been a revelation in Arsenal's defence this season alongside Gabriel (Image credit: Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Italian outlet Il Romanista (opens in new tab) has noted that the north Londoners are in the race to sign Eintracht Frankfurt star Evan Ndicka, who has mightily impressed in both the Bundesliga and in Europe in recent times and been labelled as a wonderkid to watch despite only turning 23 only the summer. 

The Parisian defender is out of contract at the end of the season, having won the Europa League with his club last term and is attracting the likes of Jose Mourinho's Roma, as well as Arsenal. 

Arteta was reportedly interested in bringing in another left-sided centre-back over the summer, too. A move for then-Ajax star Lisandro Martinez was thought to be providing cover not just for left-back but the centre of defence – before Manchester United swooped in for the Argentine and the Gunners signed Oleksandr Zinchenko instead. 

Arsenal's only other naturally left-footed centre-back, Pablo Mari, is on loan in Italy with Monza. 

Richarlison of Tottenham Hotspur battles for possession with Evan Ndicka of Eintracht Frankfurt during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Tottenham Hotspur and Eintracht Frankfurt at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 12, 2022 in London, England.

Evan Ndicka battles for possession with Tottenham Hotspur's Richarlison (Image credit: Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Eintracht Frankfurt star Ndicka would be the perfect partner for Saliba in many ways. Both French, the Bundesliga defender offers physicality, aggression and a good reading of the game, while Arsenal's young centre-back is composed, good on the ball and a good decision maker. 

Ndicka is valued at £28.8m by Transfermarkt (opens in new tab) – but Arsenal are free to negotiate a contract with the Frenchman from January.

More Arsenal stories

Arsenal have been linked with a move for Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli; the Gunners are said to have already made contact with the Italy international's camp.

Meanwhile, one man who could be heading for the Emirates Stadium exit door is Gabriel Martinelli: there's been talk of Chelsea making a shock swoop for the winger.

In other news, Aaron Ramsdale says that the Gunners have been motivated to succeed this season by the disappointment of missing out on Champions League qualification last term. The goalkeeper was speaking after Saturday's 3-1 North London derby win over Tottenham – a result which kept Mikel Arteta's side top of the Premier League. 

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.