Manchester United and Chelsea missed a trick by not moving for Everton midfielder Amadou Onana in the summer transfer window, according to one observer.
Everton spent £33million when signing Onana from Lille on a five-year contract last summer. Since then, the Belgium international has played 40 games in all competitions, notching one goal and two assists in that period.
Onana is clearly not a deadly goalscorer, but that is not what he was brought to Everton to do. Instead, he has shown his ability to dominate the midfield in matches, winning the ball back from opposition players before driving forward and helping to start Everton attacks.
While the Toffees have struggled in the last two seasons, Onana has impressed. And this has led to rumours of a big move to one of Everton’s English rivals.
Arsenal were backed to bid for the 22-year-old prior to their record-breaking swoop for Declan Rice. And on August 12, it emerged that Man Utd were planning to submit an offer for Onana if they missed out on Sofyan Amrabat to Juventus.
The Red Devils ended up landing Amrabat from Fiorentina, but they might have made a mistake when snubbing Onana, who is Everton’s most valuable player on transfermarkt at £38.5m.
Newcastle United and Belgium cult hero Philippe Albert has heaped praise on his compatriot and expressed his shock that major teams did not pay big money to snare him away from Goodison Park in the summer.
“Physically Amadou is a monster and technically he also has quality,” Albert said during an during an interview with La Capitale (via Voetbal Niuews).
Pundit ‘very surprised’ Everton star has stayed put
“I am very surprised that no one paid his €85m (£72.7m) clause. When I see how easily Chelsea spend the money to buy anything and everything, I find it very strange that they don’t buy a player like Onana for less than €100m (£85.6m).”
The main reason Man Utd went for Amrabat over Onana is that Erik ten Hag knows the Moroccan well, having previously worked with him at FC Utrecht. Plus, Amrabat will cost around £30m in total if Man Utd make his loan switch permanent, whereas Onana would have cost more than double that sum.
Chelsea, though, may have missed an opportunity when going for Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia instead of Onana. After all, the Blues spent more than £170m on those two players, so Onana would have been well within their price range.
After failing to secure a move in the summer, Onana will now look to get his head down and put in more top displays for Everton. This will help to keep him in the shop window ahead of a potential transfer in summer 2024.