ANDRE ONANA HANDED COMPETITIVE BAN
In a week where Ajax have already made the news for the wrong reasons, they’ve also been dealt a massive blow in terms of player availability and after accidentally leaving out Sebastian Haller from their Europa League squad, they will not be able to call upon Andre Onana either.
In terms of Haller’s omission from European action, this can be considered as nothing more than an admin oversight and with the Ivorian not registered for the knockout phase of this season’s Europa League, the former West Ham star will be kicking heels on Thursday’s nights.
However, it is far from an admin oversight that has ruled Onana out of action and after failing an out-of-competition doping test, European football’s governing body UEFA have handed him a 12-month ban.
While although this is a huge blow for the Cameroonian international, it is also perhaps a double blow for his employers and although they will have to make do without his services, this news will also put a dent in his perceived transfer value.
That’s because Onana has long since been a target for some of Europe’s biggest clubs and when you consider that the Ajax business model is to eventually sell their stars up the football hierarchy, the goalkeeper was likely the next saleable asset in the summer.
A sale that certainly will not happen in the off-season, for the simple reason that no club with any real transfer acumen will want to purchase a player who will largely be inactive, and this means the Ajax board will have lost an opportunity to cash in.
Of course, this is also bad news for the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham who have constantly been linked with the capture of the Cameroon international and after such a verdict from UEFA, they will have to focus their transfer attentions elsewhere.
In terms of what happens next for Onana, he is pleading innocence and after claiming that a positive test has come around after accidentally taking his wife’s medicine, he does at least tend to appeal the decision to hand out a competitive ban.
A decision that has also taken former Ajax goalkeeping legend Edwin Van Der Saar by surprise and with him now at the club in the role of managing director, the also ex-Manchester United star had this to say:
"We had hoped for a conditional suspension or for a suspension much shorter than these 12 months, because it was arguably not intended to strengthen his body and thus improve his performance”.
The Eredivisie club revealed the Cameroon international has been banned by UEFA after it found the forbidden substance Furosemide in his urine, following the test in October 2020 and his lengthy suspension will also have a knock-on effect for his international career.
With a ban from all footballing activity now in place, it is not just domestic and European action that passes him by, there is also the prospect of missing out on the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations and now Onana will be reduced to the role of club and country fan for the next 12 months of his career.