Andre Onana has become a top target for Lyon after Arsenal refused to make a guarantee to the Ajax goalkeeper, according to a report.
Onana has been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium this summer. He is entering the final year of his contract and his market value has plummeted while he has been serving a doping ban. He protested his innocence and his ban was reduced on appeal, but he is still unavailable to play until November.
Therefore, he may have already played his last game for Ajax, where he has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers outside of Europe’s top five leagues. The Dutch club could cash in on him this summer, with Arsenal a possible destination.
Bernd Leno has struggled for consistency, but retains a future in north London. The problem for Arsenal has been finding adequate cover behind him. Runar Alex Runarsson failed to make the grade after arriving last summer, prompting the January loan addition of Mat Ryan.
Australia international Ryan has since returned to parent club Brighton. Arsenal could yet come back in for him on a permanent basis, but they have also been focusing on Onana.
Previous reports indicated that if Onana’s ban was reduced – as came to be – then Ajax would still only be asking for between €6m and €9m. It has now emerged that they have fixed his price tag at €8m. For a 25-year-old talent who has plenty of experience, that would seemingly be a bargain.
But Arsenal may not be the ones to complete such a deal. According to L’Equipe, although they have opened talks, they have been unable to promise Onana that he would be their outright first choice. Instead, he would have to share responsibilities with Leno.
Onana open to Lyon plan
Therefore, Lyon are ready to hijack the move. Their new coach Peter Bosz has worked with Onana before and is willing to promise him more regular gametime than Arsenal can guarantee.
The Ligue 1 side’s plan is to use Onana in cup competitions so he can build his form and fitness back up. Then, next season, he could be more ready to be their first choice. Such a strategy may convince him to choose them over Arsenal.
He has not yet made up his mind, even though Lyon have been in contact with his agents. The plan put to him by the club appeals, but he wants to wait to see if any other offers arise.
Therefore, Arsenal may still have a chance to tempt him, although their hopes seem to be decreasing.