Gunners Boss Arteta Desperate To Land Wilfred Ndidi This MonthPublished: January 14, 2020
It has been glaringly obvious to all Arsenal supporters, and general football supporters around the world, that the Gunners have been lacking steel and bite in the spine of their team for many years now.
Easy on the eye, but capable of being cut open like a knife through butter - hardly the most glowing of endorsements, but that’s the harsh reality at the Emirates Stadium at present.
A change of regime at the top has seen Spaniard, Unai Emery replaced by his compatriot and former Gunners midfielder, Mikel Arteta.
The former Manchester City assistant manager has taken his first managerial role at the deep end with Arsenal, as he seeks to revive their fortunes and push them back towards European contention.
With the January transfer window open and potential funds available to Arteta to strengthen, reports have suggested Nigerian defensive midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi could be at the top of his wish list.
Ndidi has taken the Premier League by storm since arriving from Genk
Ndidi has been the latest lynchpin in front of the back four for Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City side, who have once again surpassed the expectations of the leading Premier League oddsmakers by cementing themselves as genuine challengers for a top-two finish in 2019/20.
Much of that good form has been down to the solid base provided by Ndidi in front of the Foxes’ backline.
Ndidi’s performances have seen his impact likened to that of N’Golo Kante’s spell in a similar role in a Leicester shirt.
According to ESPN, Ndidi has won more tackles and completed more interceptions than any other player in the EPL.
Leicester also average more possession with the ball than all but 13 teams across the top leagues in Europe, which is largely due to Ndidi’s impeccable ability to win back the ball from the opposition.
2019 was certainly a tremendous year for Ndidi, with successful exploits for both club and country.
At the recent Africa Cup of Nations, Ndidi was ranked as the player that made the most tackles, making a significant contribution as the Super Eagles enjoyed a third-place finish in the competition.
CIES Football Observatory even named Ndidi as one of the top five most valuable African players at the present time.
Despite his tremendous year for Nigeria as well as Leicester, eyebrows were raised when Ndidi was excluded from an ‘African Best XI’ list of players from 2019.
However, if Arteta has his way, Ndidi will be a part of the Arsenal XI before the end of the January transfer window.
Granit Xhaka could be a makeweight in any Arsenal bid for Ndidi
The deal that is reportedly on the table for Leicester is a player-plush-cash bid, involving £40m plus Swiss international, Granit Xhaka. Xhaka has wanted out of Arsenal since a recent altercation with the Gunners supporters, who took umbrage with him being handed the club captaincy, despite a string of lacklustre displays in midfield.
The one fly in the ointment for Arteta’s move for Ndidi could be Xhaka’s desire to play overseas rather than remain in the EPL.
Xhaka’s agent has intimated there has been concrete interest in the Swiss’ services from clubs in Germany’s Bundesliga, which may prove more attractive than being a makeweight in a deal for his replacement at the Emirates.
Of course, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers will almost certainly fight tooth and nail to retain Ndidi’s services for the remainder of the season and, indeed, beyond this term.
Rodgers may in fact use Ndidi to demonstrate just how far the Foxes have come as a club if they can hold onto the Nigerian for the long-term, which could aid the Northern Irishman when it comes to making more big signings in the summer.
Not only are Leicester challenging for a top-two finish in the EPL, they are also in with a genuine shout of major silverware in the Carabao Cup.
The Foxes play host to Midlands rivals, Aston Villa in their semi-final tie, and stand a great chance of making the final given that Villa’s main priority this season is to avoid relegation.
Regardless of how big a club Arsenal may be, it’s quite plausible that Ndidi may view Leicester as a more upwardly mobile club at the present time and choose to remain loyal to the Foxes’ cause.
Photo Credit : lcfc.com
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