Barcelona 'reach verbal agreement' to sign 23-year-old defender on a free transfer: Reports

Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - LaLiga Santander
Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - LaLiga Santander

According to SPORT1's Christopher Michel, Barcelona have reached a verbal agreement with Eintracht Frankfurt defender Evan Ndicka. The 2020-21 Bundesliga Team of the Season inductee was courted by top European clubs, including Arsenal.

The central defender has been a crucial player for the German club this season, making 29 appearances for Frankfurt this term across competitions. Ndicka has so far made 168 appearances for the Bundesliga side and was a part of their victorious UEFA Europa League campaign last season.

Apart from Ndicka, the Catalan club were also interested in signing Athletic Bilbao's Inigo Martinez. However, Ndicka is the better option for Barcelona as he is only 23 years old and has a major part of his career ahead of him.

Ndicka's contract with Frankfurt is set to expire in the summer and will cost Barcelona nothing if he moves to Camp Nou in the summer. He could be expected to serve as a backup for the likes of Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, and Andreas Christensen.

Eric Garcia's future at the club might be the subject of speculation. With Ndicka's arrival seemingly on the cards, Garcia could further slide down the pecking order.

Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo lauds Xavi

Girona FC v Barca - LaLiga Santander
Girona FC v Barca - LaLiga Santander

Ronald Araujo has been a rock at the back for Barcelona in recent seasons. He has been a key reason behind the Catalans having conceded only seven league goals so far.

The central defender lauded manager Xavi Hernandez for aiding his development as a player. Speaking on Gerard Romero's Gigantes FC, he said:

“This is Xavi’s job, he trusts me and we see the fruits of that. In Uruguay, it’s a different style of football. I came to Barcelona at 19. I had to learn to do things with the ball that the players here have mastered for a long time. I feel good, physically, with the ball. I keep working and I’m happy.”

Speaking about his defensive partner Christensen, Araujo said:

“He is a spectacular player, we know him. When you sign a player, you don’t sign him for the sake of signing him. Jules too… We are in an important moment, we are a family.”

The Blaugrana are currently atop the La Liga table and hold an 11-point lead over Real Madrid. Barca will return to action on February 16 as they host Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League.

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