Arsenal are interested in signing Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana this summer - but will wait for the verdict in his upcoming appeal against a doping ban before deciding to step up their interest.
Onana is currently serving a 12-month suspension handed to him by UEFA after he was found to have the banned substance Furosemide in his urine sample.
But he is currently fighting against the ban and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will hear his appeal in early June, with a verdict due to be given later that month.
Onana’s lawyers believe the ban, which is currently due to last until February 2022, could be reduced to eight months and, should that happen, a summer move away from Ajax could be on the cards for the Cameroon international.
Arsenal’s interested explained
Goal has learned that Arsenal’s interest in the 25-year-old stretches back to last January when contact was made between the north London club and the player’s representatives.
The Gunners were on the look-out for a keeper following the departure of Emiliano Martinez in September and the underwhelming form of summer recruit Alex Runarsson.
But, despite technical director Edu and manager Mikel Arteta being big admirers of Onana, financial issues prevented Arsenal from making a firm offer, with the Gunners instead opting to sign Mat Ryan on loan from Brighton for the remainder of the season .
What could happen next?
Arsenal still maintain a strong interest in Onana, despite the doping ban he was handed in February when he tested positive for Furosemide following an out-of-competition test.
Onana has always maintained that he accidentally took medicine that was prescribed for his wife and the Dutch Association of Professional Footballers (VVCS) has condemned the length of the ban as “disproportionate” and “incomprehensible” .
Lawyers for the player hope the suspension will be reduced to eight months at the upcoming CAS appeal, opening up the prospect of a transfer this summer.
Currently the terms of Onana’s ban mean that he is unable to even train with Ajax, so he is currently working with his own personal goalkeeping coach on pitches owned by a local amateur club in Amsterdam .
Should he be successful in his appeal, however, and have his suspension reduced to eight months, he would be allowed to start training with a team again in June, two months before he would be available to start playing again.
How much would he cost?
Ajax would be looking to receive around £12 million ($16.7m) for the goalkeeper this summer, if his appeal is successful.
But, given his contract is due to expire in 2022, it could be that an offer in the region of £7m ($9.7m) is enough to tempt the Eredivisie champions into doing business.
As well as the interest from Arsenal, clubs in Germany and France are also keeping tabs on the goalkeeper’s situation.
What about Bernd Leno?
Arsenal’s current number one Bernd Leno will have two years left on his current deal this summer and talks over an extension have yet to begin.
The Germany international recently suggested an exit could be possible , saying he was ‘open to anything’.
“I am very happy at the club,” said Leno. “I don’t know what will come in the future. But I am open to everything. Maybe for a new adventure or to stay at Arsenal.
“At the moment I don’t think about my future because two years is still a long time. There are no conversations with the club.”