Barcelona plotting late hijack for Arsenal target despite claims deal is done

Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana smiling during a league match 2021

Barcelona are attempting to muscle in on a deal for an Arsenal target after the player’s representatives suggested claims a deal is done are premature, per multiple reports.

The Arsenal goalkeeping department has come under the microscope over the last few seasons. Emiliano Martinez left for Aston Villa. Since leaving, the Argentine’s stellar showings have seen him installed as his nation’s No. 1 between the sticks.

Aaron Ramsdale arrived from relegated Sheffield United, and after initial scepticism, has shone under the brighter lights.

However, his arrival has cast doubt on the future of Bernd Leno. Indeed, the player himself hinted a January exit is a distinct option if he is unable to regain his starting spot.

That would leave Arsenal hunting for yet another new goalkeeper, and Ajax’s Andre Onana had been touted.

The 25-year-old is currently serving the final month of a doping ban. However, his return to action in Amsterdam may not last for long.

Trusted transfer guru Fabrizio Romano recently stated Inter Milan had ‘reached a verbal agreement’ with Onana ‘since July’. That would see him join the Serie A champions as a free agent when his contract expires next summer.

But according to Sport Witness (citing Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo), the move is far from a sure thing.

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Onana’s entourage have reportedly insisted ‘no final decision’ has been made. And with the door still ajar, Barcelona could yet pounce.

Given their desperate financial woes, a free agent signing is the type of deal they have been targeting.

Onana is said to be a player that fits the criteria of what club president Joan Laporta seeks. Furthermore, it’s noted they have made contact with Onana on ‘several occasions’ and remain in the hunt for his signature to this day.

One thing the article and Romano do agree on, however, is that Onana’s future lays away from Ajax. They confirm that contract renewal talks with the Dutch giant have ‘collapsed’ and it’s ‘just a matter of time’ before he leaves.

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Arsenal pondering two January exits

Meanwhile, Arsenal have some big decisions to ponder regarding some of their options in attack ahead of the January transfer window, as highlighted by various reports.

First, Football.London report that Arsenal could consider loaning out Folarin Balogun in January. Afraid his development may be stalling, a loan could be helpful when the winter transfer window opens.

Another attacker who could be considering a future away from Arsenal – perhaps more permanently – is Gabriel Martinelli.

That’s according to the Daily Mirror, who predict that Martinelli may also grow unsettled after also failing to complete a full match across four appearances so far this term.

The Mirror‘s write-up points out how Arsenal have also added plenty of options in attacking midfield, another position in which Martinelli could cover. He thus faces a battle to find a regular home anywhere in the lineup.

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