In a recent report, CBS Sports mentioned that Barcelona are eyeing a move for AFC Ajax keeper Andre Onana who is currently serving his doping ban and won’t be available until November. It is understood that the Catalans could face stiff competition from Inter Milan in pursuit of the Cameroonian keeper whose contract at the Johan Cruijff Arena expires at the end of this campaign.
Onana’s Decent Career In Dutch Football
Onana is a product of Barca’s La Masia academy and went on to become a regular feature in goal for Ajax. He has gained a lot of experience during his time in Dutch football but received a ban for doping at the start of this calendar year which has hampered his career.
The 25-year-old featured in 26 matches for the Catalan outfit last season, shipping in 22 goals and securing nine clean sheets across all fronts. Onana did well to average 0.4 clearances and 7.2 long balls per game in the 2020-21 Dutch Eredivisie campaign. He even distributed the ball accurately from the back after completing 79.9% of his attempted passes in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).
Onana is set to become a free agent next summer, so he could be a cost-effective option for Barca to consider in January or at the end of this season. The Cameroonian sensation could also be tempted with a chance to return to the Nou Camp as long as he can gain regular first-team football over the next few years.
What Will Onana Bring To The Nou Camp?
Onana boasts great reflexes that help him pull off some instinctive saves at the back. He can make some strong dives to come to his team’s rescue and is usually a solid handler of the ball as well when coming out of his six-yard box to collect crosses and loose balls.
The 18-time Cameroon international can get a lot of distance with his clearances but is also a tidy passer of the ball. Hence, he could be a decent, cost-effective option for Barca to pursue in the summer of 2022.
Onana’s signing could mean the end of Marc-André ter Stegen who is on high wages at the Nou Camp. The Barca board might want the German’s name off their wage bill to ease their financial concerns next summer. Onana is undoubtedly good enough to fill some of the void left by ter Stegen’s potential departure and the fact that he would be available on a free transfer makes him a realistic target for the Catalans in the future.
We can expect the Cameroonian talent to bring some experience and quality to Barca’s match-day squad. However, there are some concerns over whether he can get back to performing at a high level after such a long time out of action because of his current doping ban.