Arsenal are reportedly looking at a cut-price deal for Andre Onana this summer, though their move depends on the goalkeeper’s suspension appeal and a date has now been set.
Goal reporter Charles Watts wrote at the start of the month that Arsenal are interested in signing Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana this summer, but they’re waiting on the verdict in his upcoming appeal against a doping ban. The date has now been set for his hearing and it will take place on 2 June.
Onana is currently serving a 12-month suspension after the banned substance, Furosemide, was found in his urine sample. He claims he took it by accident after it was prescribed to his wife.
His appeal could reduce the ban to eight months, meaning he would be out until October.
Currently, it’s set to last until February 2022.
Arsenal were already interested in Onana back in January, but couldn’t afford the cash outlay. With his contract due to expire in 2022, Ajax are now only asking for £12m (if Onana’s appeal is successful).
Arsenal are hoping to pay closer to £7m.
If the appeal is unsuccessful, he’s only going to be able to play for a few months between his return and the end of his current contract. That should significantly reduce his transfer fee, though Arsenal may decide to look elsewhere if that’s the case.
Arsenal are looking to sign at least one goalkeeper this summer, with Bernd Leno and Runar Alex Runarsson the only goalkeepers under contract past the end of June.
Personally, we would recommend Arsenal sign Onana whether the appeal is successful or not. Whilst it would be a shame to have the goalkeeper unavailable for an extra four months, it could be worth it in the long term.
Onana is still just 25, and his stats suggest he’s a very promising talent.
His save percentage is the second-best in the Eredivisie this season, and his per-90 PSxG-GA stat (explained below) was the 8th best in the Champions League this season, of the 35 goalkeepers to play three games or more.
PSxG-GA is “post-shot expected goals”, minus goals allowed. To put it simply, the statisticians calculate how likely a goalkeeper is to stop each shot they’ve faced based on power, placement, etc., then judge it against how many goals they actually conceded.
When it’s available, it’s a more accurate way to judge shot-stopping than save percentage because it takes into account the difficulty of the shot. Onana is ahead of Champions League finalists Edouard Mendy and Ederson on the list, among others.
WhoScored list shot-stopping, saving close-range and long shots, and concentration among Onana’s strengths, also highlighting that he comes off his line often.
The former Barcelona academy goalkeeper has experience at the top level with Ajax, making 53 senior appearances in European competition. For the price quoted, he could prove to be a bargain.