Inter keen on Arsenal target Onana

The Italian champions are one of many clubs queuing up to sign the Cameroon keeper from the Amsterdam club

Inter have joined the race to sign Ajax’s Andre Onana, who has less than 12 months left on his current contract.

Arsenal, Tottenham, Lyon and Borussia Dortmund have all shown an interest in the Cameroon international in the last few months, but a doping ban has scuppered any possible moves.

The ban has since been reduced on appeal allowing the 25-year-old to play from November, and the Dutch giants are aware they are set to lose the goalkeeper and now target earning a fee from a January sale.

What have Ajax said?

Director of Football Marc Overmars spoke about his side’s former No 1: «You can never say never in football [about him renewing his contract], but at the moment I do not see that he extends his contract with us.

«We have been very clear. We have spent a lot of time negotiating to extend his contract, but it did not work. We then gave him the space to move during the summer and it did not work either. He can leave in January, otherwise he will leave for free next June.»

Who could win the race?

Arsenal have signed goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale for £24m ($33m) from Bournemouth after opting against a player subject to a FIFA ban.

They may yet look to Onana again should they opt to push Bernd Leno out in the coming months. Meanwhile, Onana’s agent Albert Botines has spoken publicly about a possible move to Lyon.

Equally, Dortmund and Tottenham have signed alternative options but Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have only added Pierluigi Gollini on loan from Atalanta – albeit with an option to buy at the end of the season.

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Onana was previously valued at around £15 million ($21m) but that price tag is likely to plummet in January with so little time left on his contract.

Although he is free to sign on a pre-contract ahead of a free transfer move in the summer from January 1, any club willing to pay a fee may steal a march to sign the shot stopper.

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Lukaku forced Inter’s hand in £98m Chelsea move

The Belgium international admits to having set his heart on a return to Stamford Bridge once it became apparent that interest was «serious»

Romelu Lukaku admits that he forced Inter’s hand once learning that interest from Chelsea was «serious» during the summer transfer window, with the Belgian striker determined to complete a £98 million ($136m) move.

That offer eventually proved to be enough for Serie A champions to part with a prized asset, with three previous bids being knocked back.

Lukaku started to fear that a deal would never be done, leading to him seeking out talks with those at the centre of discussions as his heart started to head back to Stamford Bridge.

What has been said?

Lukaku has told HLN of securing a return to Chelsea 10 years after he first linked up with the Blues: «With Chelsea’s third offer, I knew it was serious and I wasn’t there anymore.

«Chelsea offered €110m plus [Davide] Zappacosta, but Inter said no, so I went to [Simone] Inzaghi’s office asking to find an agreement.”

«I was still at Inter, but my head was already in London.

«Inter pulled me out of sh*t, I would have only left the Nerazzurri for Chelsea.»

Why did Chelsea want Lukaku?

Romelu Lukaku Chelsea 2021

Chelsea first signed Lukaku back in 2011 when he was a promising teenager that had burst onto a senior stage at Anderlecht.

He took in just 15 goalless appearances for the Blues before heading out on loan to West Brom and Everton, with a permanent move to Goodison Park made in 2014.

With his stock continuing to rise, a big-money switch to Manchester United was completed in 2017 and Lukaku went on to become a member of the Premier League’s 100-goal club.

His qualities were never fully appreciated at Old Trafford, though, and he left for Inter after two seasons with the Red Devils.

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Two productive years in Italy delivered 64 goals in 95 appearances, along with a Serie A title triumph, and those exploits convinced Chelsea that he was worth another shot.

The powerful 28-year-old is already up and running back in English football, with a debut goal recorded against Arsenal, and the expectation is that he will help to fire the Champions League holders into contention for a Premier League title in 2021-22.

Further reading

Ronaldo departure makes Inter Serie A favourites – Vieri

The former Nerazzurri star thinks Simeone Inzaghi can make sure the Scudetto returns to San Siro in 2021-22 now an arch rival has been weakened

Christian Vieri thinks Inter are favourites for the Serie A title following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Juventus.

Ronaldo brought his three-year stay at Juve to an end by re-signing for Manchester United in a £20 million ($28m) deal on deadline day.

The Bianconeri slumped to a fourth-place finish in Serie A in the Portuguese’s final year in Turin, but he fired them to the Scudetto in both of his previous seasons and Vieri thinks his absence will give Inter an advantage as they bid to retain the trophy in 2021-22.

What has been said?

It has been suggested that the likes of Federico Chiesa and Paulo Dybala will step up to fill the void left by Ronaldo, but Vieri now believes Simeone Inzaghi has a stronger squad at his disposal at San Siro than Massimiliano Allegri has at Allianz Stadium.

«Who wins the Scudetto? Before Cristiano Ronaldo left I said: Juve attack stronger, Juve stronger,» the former Nerazzurri striker told Gazzetta dello Sport. «Now I put Inter in front. I’m not convinced when I hear speeches like ‘now Dybala, [Alvaro] Morata and Chiesa will give more.»

Juve managed to bring Moise Kean back to the club from Everton to bolster their attacking ranks after Ronaldo’s exit, but Vieri has major doubts over whether he can have a similar impact.

«When Ronaldo leaves, there is no better choice, someone else will have to score the goals he scored,» he added. «Kean? I don’t think so, but you have to judge him after a whole championship.»

Who do Inter have up front?

Inter lost their own talismanic figure in the summer transfer window, with Romelu Lukaku re-joining Chelsea for £98 million ($135m) after two impressive years in the Italian capital.

Lukaku scored 24 goals to help the Nerazzurri win the Scudetto for the first time in 11 years last term, but Inzaghi has been able to bring in Edin Dzeko from Roma as his replacement. Inter also still have Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez to call upon, while Joaquin Correa can provide extra support after joining the club on loan from Lazio.

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Asked whether Dzeko can pick up the mantle from Lukaku and be the difference-maker in the final third, Vieri replied: «Lukaku is irreplaceable, but Inter have taken Dzeko: he does not have the same physical power, he is six years older, but he is a technical forward, of the highest quality, he scores goals and makes the team play well.

«You can’t replace Lukaku, but you can try to replace him and Inter have done well with Dzeko.»

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