We all knew that Arsenal would need to be creative in the transfer market this summer, and it’s likely that they’ll need four or five players to contribute immediately if they want to push for a top-four spot next season.
Realistically that means taking a chance on younger players, those who are impressing at a lower level or even those who are trying to rebuild their career after an unfortunate episode.
A report from NOS has indicated that they are in pole position to sign Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana, and he could be a fantastic signing if you look purely at his talent as a football player.
He’s a great all-round keeper, his reflexes are sharp and he’s developed his ball-playing skills at Barcelona and Ajax, so he can play out from the back and he should be an upgrade on Bernd Leno if he’s on top form.
There is one huge problem with a doping ban that currently hangs over him, so it looks like he wouldn’t be available until February 2022 at this point.
The NOS report does confirm that he’s appealing that and the case is set to be heard over the next week, while the main hope appears to be that the length of the ban will be reduced rather than a complete acquittal.
If he’s forced to serve the length of the ban then it’s suggested he cold be sold for as little as €2m because his contract is up in 2022, so if Arsenal are prepared to play the long game here then this could be a cracking bit of business.
Obviously the ban will be a concern, while he won’t have played professional football for a year once he returns so there is no guarantee that he comes back the same player, but this is an interesting situation to watch for the Gunners.
It’s still thought that he would only cost €10m if his ban is thrown out, but it makes sense to get him tied up now despite the ban to prevent a bidding war in Janaury where he can sign a pre-contract agreement somewhere else.