Arsenal are on the verge of signing Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana as a replacement for Bernd Leno, though they are waiting to see the outcome of his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Cameroonian shot-stopper was handed a 12-month ban after failing an out-of-competition drugs test in October last year when banned substance furosemide was found in his urine sample.
Onana insists the medication belonged to his wife and was taken by mistake when he felt unwell, launching an appeal to CAS for which a verdict will be reached on Wednesday.
Irrespective of whether Onana is acquitted or not, the 25-year-old will leave Amsterdam this summer and, according to Dutch outlet NOS, his destination will almost certainly be Arsenal.
Mikel Arteta is unhappy with the performance of Leno, who himself is open to leaving north London, while Onana’s ball-playing ability is seen as a much better fit for the football and build-up the Arsenal boss wants to play.
The transfer has also already been broadly agreed, but the nature of the deal depends on the outcome of the appeal to CAS.
If Onana’s appeal is successful, or his ban – which is due to last for another six months – reduced, then Arsenal will pay between £5.1million and £7.7million for his services.
Even if the ban is upheld, Arsenal still intend to press ahead with a deal and Ajax will settle for a fee of just £1.7m because Onana is out of contract in 2022, when he could leave the club for nothing.
The latter scenario could present some difficulties for Onana, however, with the terms of the keeper’s ban preventing him from mingling with teammates or even visiting his club’s training centre and he would not be able to link up with the Gunners until the turn of the year.
Onana’s agent, Albert Botines, effectively confirmed his departure earlier this year, saying: ‘He loves the club and the supporters, he has stayed with Ajax a few times when he could have made a nice transfer.
‘He owes a lot to Ajax. He therefore hopes the club, despite the suspension, let him leave through the front door.’
Leno, meanwhile, made several high-profile gaffes last season but Arsenal believe they could still fetch a decent fee for the German, allowing them to upgrade to Onana while making a net profit.
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