• Messi has asked Barca to sign Andre Onana as their back-up goalkeeper
  • Onana's transfer fee at Ajax is around $43m
  • Spain's La Liga is currently suspended due to COVID-19

FC Barcelona reportedly could be spending $43 million to sign Ajax’s first No. 1 choice goalkeeper, Andre Onana, who is also the product of Barca’s youth academy, La Masia.

Brazilian goal-stopper Neto joined Barcelona last year in exchange of Jasper Cillessen in a hope of becoming the club’s No. 2 choice after Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Unfortunately for Neto, Ter Stegen’s exceptional form has forced boss Quique Setien to continue to sideline the former this season for most of the matches.

Having made just four appearances for the Catalans, Neto is expected to leave the club in a bid to secure more playing time as the Brazilian is understood to be receiving several offers. While many expected Barcelona B’s Inaki Pena to replace Neto in the first team, the club thought he needs some more time to develop.

Spanish media outlet Don Belon has reported that Barcelona are now thinking of signing Ajax’s Onana as No. 2 to Ter Stegen. However, the only hurdle that is forcing Barcelona to rethink about the move is the player’s transfer fee of $43m as the board members are not sure if they must spend an amount as that for a less-established player.

The report further disclosed that while the club is having second thoughts, they have received the green signal from captain Lionel Messi about bringing Onana to Nou Camp. Even though Messi is not a part of Barcelona’s transfer committee, the club is doing everything to keep the Argentinean happy amid the fear of losing him as a free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi confirmed the players will take a 70 per cent pay cut during Spain's state of alarm
Barcelona captain Lionel Messi confirmed the players will take a 70 per cent pay cut during Spain's state of alarm AFP / LLUIS GENE

It is also revealed that while Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag does not want the Cameroonian player to leave the club, he is also aware that he would consider if Barca approach with an offer. However, no official negotiations have begun as yet ahead of the summer transfer window.

As of now, soccer around the globe has been suspended due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that has affected most parts of the world, especially Europe. After the U.S., the next worst-hit countries are Spain, Russia, the U.K. and Italy. Out of those, three countries house top-flight soccer leagues – La Liga (Spain), Premier League (U.K.) and Serie A (Italy).