Chelsea receive major Andre Onana transfer boost amid Kepa Arrizabalaga exit rumours


Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana has been heavily linked with Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea are in pole position to sign Andre Onana after Bayer Leverkusen pulled out of the race to sign the Ajax star.

Kepa Arrizabalaga became the most expensive goalkeeper in history when he completed a £71.6million move from Athletic Bilbao to Chelsea back in 2018 but the 25-year-old looks set for the exit door at Stamford Bridge.

Frank Lampard gave Kepa a lifeline when he took over from Maurizio Sarri last summer but Chelsea’s head coach has fast run out of patience with the Spaniard after a series of high-profile errors across the 2019/20 campaign.

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Burnley’s Nick Pope and Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak are both firmly on Lampard’s radar and Chelsea have also been keeping close tabs on Ajax shot-stopper Onana, who is reportedly keen to join the Blues.

It’s understood Chelsea have been in discussions with Onana’s representatives in recent months ahead of a possible move for the 24-year-old.

But Chelsea have not been alone in pursuing a deal for Onana, with Leverkusen closely monitoring the ‘keeper’s situation in the lead-up to the summer transfer window.

Onana may have played his last match for Ajax (Picture: Getty)

According to Kicker, though, the Bundesliga outfit have pulled out of this summer’s race to land the Cameroon international after having a €20million (£18m) bid rejected by Ajax.

Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes denied that an offer had even been made for the stopper, telling the publication: ‘Lukas [Hradecky], played a good season. We have a good keeper.

‘Onana is not an issue.’

Leverkusen managing director Rudi Voller added: ‘This is not an issue at all. This is absolute nonsense.

‘We have an absolute top goalkeeper with Lukas.’

Lampard is on the hunt for Kepa’s replacement at Chelsea (Picture: Getty)

This leaves Chelsea as favourites for Onana’s signature but it may take a sizeable bid to convince Ajax to part with the Cameroonian.

Recent reports suggested that Ajax would only listen to offers in excess of €30m (£27m) for their prized possession

Kepa looks destined for the exit door at Stamford Bridge (Picture: Getty)

Lampard refused to be drawn into the speculation surrounding Kepa’s future after starting with Willy Caballero between the sticks for Chelsea’s win over Wolves.

‘I don’t want to jump forward beyond the Arsenal game next week. It would be wrong,’ Lampard said.

‘The squad is really strong at the moment as a unit, how they are on and off the pitch.

‘I want that to stay for at least one more week domestically, then Bayern Munich. Looking to next season after that.’

The Chelsea manager added: ‘I have long, hard thinks about everything, not just individual positions but how we are as a team.

‘The idea that we haven’t kept a clean sheet is definitely not just a reflection of the goalkeeper, but something that we have to work on as a team. How we train and maybe how we improve going forward.

‘I don’t want to pinpoint it on Kepa. The Kepa decision was a choice, probably in recent form and recent situation [it’s] a tough time for him.’

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