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Andre Onana should sign a new contract at Eredivisie champions Ajax rather than join Mikel Arteta and Arsenal in 2022, manager Erik ten Hag has told De Telegraaf.

The absence of Bernd Leno from Mikel Arteta’s starting XI for the 1-0 victory over Norwich City on Saturday certainly raised eyebrows. 

It’s not as though the Germany international has been struggling for form this season.

Leno was far and away Arsenal’s best player during the 5-0 thumping at Manchester City – although there wasn’t much competition. He also produced an early save of the season contender to deny a stunned Romelu Lukaku at the Emirates six days before. 

Reading between the lines, it seems Leno’s absence may have more to do with the uncertainty surrounding his future.  

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The former Bayer Leverkusen stopper is due to become a free agent next summer and, according to ESPN, it’s believed he will run his contract down before leaving in July, with Inter Milan interested. 

It makes sense, then, for Arsenal to plan for life after Leno with Aaron Ramsdale impressing in his absence.

Arsenal and Arteta want Onana

And with Andre Onana also available on a free transfer in 2022, the Gunners could soon return with another offer for their long-term target – one who came close to joining the London giants this summer before staying put in Amsterdam (Goal). 

Ten Hag, however, thinks the shot-stopper should stay at Ajax.

“I think it is best for all parties to extend his contract and I also recommended this to Onana,” Ten Hag says when asked about the future of his one-time Barcelona youngster. 

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“Onana will definitely take my advice into account – and then he and his entourage will have to decide. 

“We put him on the squad list for the Champions League and this hasn’t been done without reason. I am very grateful to him for what he has done for Ajax and for me in recent years. If the club needs him, I will definitely push for him to be able to stay.” 

Ajax director – and former Arsenal winger – Marc Overmars last week admitted Onana was unlikely to extend his stay at the Johan Cruyff Arena.  

Edwin van der Sar, Ajax’s goalkeeper turned managing director, is also bracing himself for the 25-year-old’s departure. 

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