While Inter’s search for a new starting goalkeeper may not be this summer due to the Nerazzurri’s financial straits, the hunt is by no means called off. According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Inter is attempting to snatch Andre Onana away from Ajax when his contract expires in the summer of 2022.
At 25 years of age, Onana is the perfect successor to Handanovic. He’s been at Ajax since a 2015 move from the Barcelona youth system. Onana has made 204 appearances for the Dutch side, including 83 clean sheets and 180 goals conceded. Along the way, he’s won the Eredivisie and the Dutch Cup twice each and was a key part of Ajax’s Cinderella run to the 2019 Champions League semifinal. Onana’s goalkeeping stats on fbref back up the hype around the Cameroonian international. He ranks in the 99th percentile in expected goals allowed minus actual goals allowed, which means he saves more goals than the “avergae” keeper would. His save percentage is also a highly respectable 77.8%. For contrast, Samir Handanovic has a save percentage of 70% but his expected goals allowed minus actual goals allowed is in the negatives, which means he concedes more goals than would be expected. Onana is certainly the superior shot-stopper and has the quality to single-handily win Inter games. His only drawbacks are iffy passing skills and poor decision-making when coming off his line. Inter’s back three would be able to nullify most of those concerns, however, compared to a system with a higher defensive line.
If Inter do manage to pull this off (and that’s no guarantee as Arsenal is also in the running for his signature, not to mention the possibly of a contract renewal), it would be a superb piece of business. While Onana’s nine-month ban from football has put off some suitors, he’ll be back in November and was rated at €30 million only two summers ago. With Juan Musso moving to Atalanta, some of Inter’s other options are now off the table so the Nerrazurri should be able to put its full attention towards convincing Onana.
What do you think of Onana? Is he the man to fill Handanovic’s boots or should Inter prioritize someone else?