Now three signings in, Tottenham has made a strong start to this summer’s window; however, there is still work to do. Antonio Conte‘s key focus remains a left-footed centre-back, with Evan Ndicka now being touted for a move to North London.
Although the links to various targets might suggest otherwise, top-quality left-footed centre-backs are surprisingly scarce. However, it’s clear Conte has his heart set on a player of this criterion.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s Ndicka is the latest figure in Conte’s crosshairs, although he may be a relatively unfamiliar name to most fans.
So who is Nkicka? Standing at 6ft 2″, Ndicka is a French-born left-footed centre-back who looks to fit Conte’s mold.
Putting up almost 4,000 minutes last season, the Frenchman was ever-present for Frankfurt, appearing in all but two games as the Germans claimed their debut Europa League title overcoming Barcelona, West Ham, and Rangers on the way.
Granted, Ndicka does profile differently from Ben Davies. However, his strengths may be exactly what Conte is looking for in the Welshman’s replacement.
Whilst Davies excels in ball progression, Ndicka bests the Welshman in all defensive metrics, ranking in the top 5% of centre-backs in Europe’s top five leagues for aerial duels won and blocks made, as well as putting up over 12 pressures per 90.
Presuming Perisic starts at left wingback next season, the closest centre-back to him, hypothetically Ndicka, must be a rock, as the Croatian is likely to occupy advanced positions, potentially leaving the left centre-back exposed.
Ndicka can also be a threat going forward, as his four goals and assists clear him of any Tottenham centre-back in terms of league output last season; however, as mentioned, he may become an out-and-out defender in Conte’s system.
At face value, fans may be worried we may be starting to scramble for defensive targets; however, this is far from the case. As per FB Ref, Ndicka profiles similarly to Glieson Bremer – another reported target – providing at least an element of coherence amongst the names linked to N17.
Currently, Tottenham is in pole position for the Frenchman’s signature and seems relatively unopposed in securing his services.
Furthermore, Ndicka would be unlikely to command as high a fee as Bastoni or Torres, leaving funds to be distributed around our other expected business.
However, ultimately, it’s no secret that Ndicka isn’t Conte’s first choice, and it might just be the case that the Italian chooses to return to the market in search of another, more favourable solution.
At this point, only Conte, Paratici, and Levy will likely know our genuine interest in Ndicka, as we fans must wait and see what unfolds over the coming weeks of a so far pleasantly successfully transfer window.