Manchester United have joined the race to sign Eintracht Frankfurt’s 22-year-old centre-back Evan N’Dicka.
That is according to a report from Sport Bild, via Manchester Evening News, which claimed that the Frenchman has caught the eye of the Red Devils, who are keen on adding a central defender to their ranks this summer.
With N’Dicka’s contract expiring at the end of next season, it is said that Frankfurt will look to cash in on him whilst they still can. It is believed that a fee of €20m (£17.1m) will be enough to prise the starlet from the clutches of the Europa League finalists.
Featuring in 94% of Frankfurt’s Bundesliga season, the 22-year-old – who has been described by journalist Jacque Talbot as a “towering” presence at 6 foot 4 – has enjoyed a prosperous campaign which has seen him become a mainstay at the heart of the Eintracht defence.
With an average of 12.4 pressures and 2.34 blocks per game, N’Dicka has registered elite numbers in comparison to positionally similar players in Europe’s top five leagues over the past year, as per FBRef.
Speaking of positionally similar players, being a natural left-footed centre-back with astonishing numbers in-possession (more on that later), he automatically poses a threat to Harry Maguire’s spot in the starting XI.
With Raphael Varane a natural right footer, Erik ten Hag would surely prefer the partnership of N’Dicka and Varane over N’Dicka and Maguire.
Remember N’Dicka’s match average of 12.4 pressures per game? Maguire registers around half of this total with 6.26 pressure per 90 and also loses out to N’Dicka’s average of 2.34 blocks, with the Englishman registering an average of 1.42 per game.
The best thing about N’Dicka is that he brings solidity at the back whilst driving his team forward in possession. He is fearless, achieving around 6.91 passes under pressure per 90.
With the caveat that he plays as a left-sided centre-back in a back-three, and is given licence to overlap, N’Dicka boasts some serious attacking numbers – having delivered four goals and four assists for Frankfurt in the Bundesliga this season – eight goal contributions as a centre-back!
With an average of 0.75 shot-creating actions per 90 and total match average of 1.06 carries into the final third, the 22-year-old is extremely well-rounded, with his defensive participations not faltering to this attacking display. Instead, N’Dicka makes his challenges high-up the pitch, with 0.85 of his 2.05 total tackles coming in the middle third of the pitch.
As a natural left-footed defender with a lot of potential and a fearless nature in possession, Evan N’Dicka could form a formidable French partnership with Varane at the heart of the United defence.
However, with the 22-year-old used to operating in a back-three, he would need time to adapt into a two-man partnership, with his attacking contributions bound to take a hit in the process.