Liverpool’s incredible 2017-18 season ended in a heartbreak when they suffered a 3-1 defeat to reigning champions Real Madrid in the Champions League final and a couple of howlers from custodian Loris Karius still remains a major talking point. Jurgen Klopp, the Reds boss, handed him a ‘number 1’ role over Simon Mignolet back in January but should rethink his decision in the middle of a wide-open summer transfer window.
He has refrained from sanctioning a deal for AS Roma’s Alisson Becker due to a huge asking fee and still believes Karius can shake off the shambles and turn it around if handed opportunities. The German keeper, meanwhile, made yet another costly error against Tranmere Rovers in a recent pre-season friendly tie which should now force the gaffer to reconsider his stance and give the nod to academy graduate Danny Ward as a first-team option for the time being.
They have been linked to several names in recent weeks but should contemplate a move for André Onana, the 22-year-old Cameroonian international, who has made significant strides at Ajax since completing a low-profile move from Barcelona back in 2015. He was wrapped up by the Catalans at the age of 13 following an impressive show for Samuel Eto’o’s academy and flourished further in the famous La Masia set up.
Onana was promoted to the first-team action after a brief yet successful stint with Jong Ajax and is now protecting their goal week in week out for the past two terms. The 6 ft 3 in custodian has been in news recently in the aftermath of his controversial statement upon Ajax’s failure of reclaiming the league glory.
‘If something better than Ajax comes up, I am gone, for sure. The fact this is happening is not only the coach his fault. Overmars, Van der Sar… All are responsible for the sh***y football we play.’
He took a dig at club legends and made his intention clear about his future aspirations. Onana has earned massive applauds for his several match-winning performances as he restored stability between the sticks following the egress of Jasper Cillessen who left for Barcelona. He had 15 clean sheets in his debut Eredivisie campaign – only two fewer of Feyenoord’s Brad Jones and also clinched 12 shutouts last season with the least number of goals conceded. He exhibited his expertise stopping three of the six penalties he encountered in Eredivisie and the composure, calmness and concentration in goal make him one of the brightest prospects of world football.
The youngster still needs to work on his distribution, but showed his excellence while dealing with long-range efforts as well as one-on-one affairs. He prefers to play short passes over long clearances and this ball-playing attribute makes him a perfect fit in Klopp’s Anfield revolution. Onana is one quality custodian who is completely off the radar and the Reds should explore the opportunity of tying him down before losing out eventually to a European counterpart.
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