Chelsea have been boosted in their hunt for a new number one goalkeeper to replace the struggling Kepa Arrizabalaga, with suggestions that highly rated Ajax stopper André Onana is interested in joining the club.
Chelsea paid a word record fee of £71.6m for Kepa in 2018, but the Spaniard’s form has been poor this season and he was benched by manager Frank Lampard for the 2-2 draw against Leicester at the weekend in favour of veteran deputy Willy Caballero.
Lampard was rumoured in mid-December to have asked Chelsea officials to scout him a new goalkeeper, with the 41-year-old thought to be generally unimpressed by Kepa following a number of mistakes in recent months.
Onana – who has risen to prominence as a key part of an impressive young Ajax side – seemingly considers it an opportunity, and Goal has reported that Chelsea is the Cameroon international’s ‘preferred destination’ this summer.
The 23-year-old is said to think that the Premier League would be ‘ideal’ and sees the uncertainty surrounding Kepa at Stamford Bridge as an opportunity to make his ambition to play in England a reality.
The Daily Mail carries a similar story on Onana and his eye on Chelsea. The newspaper also notes that he would be interested in joining Tottenham, but Chelsea remains his preference.
Onana has also been linked with Barcelona, where he previously spent five years in the youth ranks after being spotted at Samuel Eto’o’s academy in Cameroon. It is said that Ajax might prefer to deal with Barça owing to their historic relationship, but goalkeeper is far from a priority at Camp Nou.
Elsewhere, Chelsea have recently been linked with Burnley’s Nick Pope to replace Kepa, as well as Sheffield United loanee Dean Henderson.
While Goal says that no decision has been made on whether Kepa will definitely be cut loose, it is explained that a final decision on his future will be made by technical adviser Petr Cech and head of goalkeeping Christophe Lollichon, in conjunction with Lampard.
For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!