Arsenal’s move for Andre Onana is complicated in more ways than one.
As reported by football.london, the Gunners have identified the Ajax goalkeeper as the long-term replacement for current no.1 Bernd Leno whose future at the club is in doubt.
But Arsenal are facing a considerable problem if they sign Onana this summer and that is the fact that the 25-year-old is banned from football due to a doping violation, a punishment that was handed to him in February of this year.
As a result of the one-year ban, he is not permitted to play or even train with teammates.
Onana’s ban was appealed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Wednesday, where a decision on whether the ban will be reduced is expected to be made within the next week.
Regardless of the outcome, it remains likely that Arsenal will still push ahead with signing the Ajax goalkeeper and the only possible change is that the Gunners could sign him at a cut-price deal – rumoured to be around the £7m region – if CAS fail to overturn the appeal.
However, if the ban is overturned and Onana can resume playing football immediately, there’s another problem facing Mikel Arteta and the north London outfit.
Should the Gunners manage to sign Onana in the summer, they face losing him at some point in 2022.
This is because next year’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament has already moved back to its winter slot.
The tournament was moved to the summer months following a decision by their executive committee in 2017, but after just one competition, it will now return to its original January-February format.
One of the reasons for the change is the temperature and weather both being more favourable in the opening two months of the year.
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This is something for Arsenal to keep in mind if Edu manages to seal a deal for Onana.
The Africa Cup of Nations was scheduled to have taken place at the beginning of 2021, but due to the coronavirus pandemic that has affected all sport since last March, it was moved to 2022.
Cameroon, as the host nation, have already booked their ticket for the tournament which means, if named in the final 23-man squad, Onana will miss club action for a period between January and February next year.