Can Andre Onana replace Hugo Lloris at Spurs?
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Despite his absence with a dislocated elbow, Hugo Lloris remains Tottenham Hotspur’s first-choice keeper. At 32, however, he's already reached his peak. His time with the North London side nears its end. Spurs must plan for that event.
The Frenchman's campaign frustrates. Lengthy injury spells take their toll on the shot-stopper with poor Premier League displays exposing his decline. Lloris reportedly favours a move to Major League Soccer even though his contract runs through 2022. Given the player's circumstances and attitude, Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy might reach for his chequebook to sign a replacement. The question is who?
Ajax keeper, Andre Onana is the reported answer. The Dutch champions allegedly want £35-40 million for their No.1, contracted at the Cruijff ArenA through 2022.
Onana's Champions League experience stands out. A sweeper-keeper whose fast reactions and improved distribution make Lloris look more uncomfortable than Boris Johnson's barber, the Cameroonian inspires confidence and offers more support to his backline in terms of high claims. Replacing one big name with another should appeal to Tottenham's long term plans but will the 24-year-old be tempted?
Signing Onana won't be easy considering the competition. David De Gea's new contract likely ended Manchester United's interest but Paris Saint-Germain remain in the running. The French side clearly seek competition at the position occupied by Keylor Navas.
Spurs could offer Lloris to the Parisians. Acquiring the veteran Frenchman would remove the Ligue 1 champions from the Onana equation. With no other bidders, Tottenham might even save on the purchase price.
On the other hand, if Mauricio Pochettino prioritises Premier League experience, Jordan Pickford is an option. If Everton ask too much for the England No.1, there's Nick Pope. The Clarets surely value their man but, if we're being honest, they're a selling club. There's past history between the teams, as well. Kieran Trippier arrived at White Hart Lane from Turf Moor.
If Daniel Levy wasn't chairman, Spurs might consider Gianluigi Donnarumma. The Milan keeper is rated at £125 million. His safe hands would solve Spurs' goalkeeping dilemma for the next decade and beyond. Unfortunately, Levy would never sleep again if he blew his entire transfer kitty on one player.
Could they turn to someone in their ranks such as Paulo Gazzaniga or Michel Vorm?
Gazzaniga lacks top-flight experience. His command in the box and shot-stopping are good but his potential is unfulfilled. Can Pochettino trust him to be the main man?
Vorm re-signed following Lloris' injury. Released to make room for Gazzaniga, the 36-year-old Dutchman is capable. On the other hand, Pochettino preferred Lloris as his veteran keeper. When the Frenchman returns, he'll make the same choice again.
Inhouse solutions are fine if the talent is there. In this instance, that's debatable. If Spurs want to continue competing at the top, they must spend to avoid being left behind. Tottenham should reassess the balance between developing homegrown talent and investing in the transfer market.
Of course, Pochettino's future is the tipping point. If he stays, it will be because Levy has agreed to provide greater funding. If he leaves, his replacement will a] have to work in confined conditions and b] bring to bear different priorities that may render this entire conversation moot.