This article is part of Football FanCast’s Expert Roundup feature, which provides three quotes from those in the know in order to illuminate fundamental strengths, weaknesses, quirks, stylistic comparisons and general observations of players, transfer targets and confirmed signings.
With Hugo Lloris out for the foreseeable future with a dislocated elbow Tottenham Hotspur have turned their sights towards a top class shot-stopper as they bid to turn their so far troubled season around.
The man reportedly on their radar is Andre Onana.
The Ajax number one greatly impressed last term as de Godenzonen stole a march all the way to the Champions League semi-finals – ironically exiting at the hands of Spurs – while a recent eye-catching display against Chelsea in the same tournament has only added extra veneer to a solid reputation.
Agile, confident and commanding of his area the 6ft 3 Cameroonian first arrived in Europe courtesy of the Samuel Eto’o Foundation, joining Barcelona aged just 13. A move to Holland five years later saw him eventually installed as first choice at the Johan Cruyff Arena and now the Premier League may beckon, with the player himself recently admitting to finding the proposition tempting.
With that in mind, Football Fancast sought out the opinion of three great Dutch keepers to find out what the Spurs faithful can expect.
Judging by these glowing references they should be excited to say the least…
Now a pundit in his native Netherlands, Waterreus’ vast experience means he knows an elite goalie when he sees one. As to just how elite, well that’s a different matter. As per en24.news:
“He’s a fantastic goalkeeper who always stays calm. We see him play every week and we quickly see that he is the best. Is he better than Ter Stegen? Maybe not yet. He’s better than Neuer? Probably. Is he better than De Gea? Certainly. Is he better than Oblak? Maybe not. Is he better than Courtois? Perhaps. The biggest clubs in Europe are interested in him. He deserves it too. “
With just shy of 250 appearances for de Godenzonen, Menzo has legendary status at the club while his longevity means he takes a more measured approach in assessing emerging talent. He has seen them come. He has seen them go. In Onana though he clearly believes there is something far more substantial than mere hype. As per ajaxshowtime.com:
“It is very Dutch to ask if he is the best in Europe right now. Soon he will make some mistakes and (people will) crucify him. I particularly like to see how this boy develops. It is difficult to play as a young goalkeeper at Ajax 1. But he is calm and his reflexes are the best in the world. His appearance is impressive.”
Now installed as Ajax’s chief executive van der Sar has persistently batted away rumours regarding Onana’s future with the same unflappable ease he dealt with crosses.
Here though he makes an exception, offering up praise for the star in sticks. As per goal.com:
“I think Andre is fantastic. He came to Ajax aged 18 or 19 and the way he developed and the natural attributes that he already had, his speed, his reaction and I think he set himself as a great goalkeeper.”
“This year again he has proven to be extremely valuable for the team and besides that, he is a great guy.”
At 23 years of age Onana is still some way from reaching his goalkeeping peak, and that should only encourage Tottenham more to invest in a player who is already one of the best in his position around.