Arsenal to step up Onana interest

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Arsenal are expected to step up their interest in Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana in the coming days, according to Charles Watts of Goal.com.

The Gunners initially made contact with the 25-year-old’s representatives in January, when they started looking for an alternative to Bernd Leno. However, no deal was struck at the time due to their rather difficult financial situation and they ended up signing Mat Ryan on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion for the remaining part of the season.

Onana soon fell into controversy, receiving a year-long doping ban from all football activities for testing positive to Furosemide in February. Under the terms of the punishment, he has been unable to train with Ajax ever since and has been working with a personal trainer to maintain his fitness.

Onana claimed he had consumed the banned substance by mistake from the start, saying he had taken a medicine prescribed to his pregnant wife. He appealed the ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), with the result of seeing it reduced from 12 to nine months, which means he’ll be able to return to action in November and potentially miss only a small number of matches at the start of 2021-22.

Arsenal have maintained contact with his representatives throughout, and in the light of the ban reduction, the talks between them and Ajax over a potential transfer are expected to pick up pace. His role at the Emirates, should he make the switch, could be different to the one originally devised and he could immediately become the Arsenal No.1, with the future of Bernd Leno in North London increasingly uncertain.