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Onana is the perfect goalkeeper for Manchester United. He deserves an overpayment and mistakes can be forgiven.

Date: April 21, 2024 Time: 01:56:30

David de Gea has been one of Manchester United’s best players since joining the team in 2011, and his 17 clean sheets last season in the Premier League earned him the Golden Glove. It is true that staying in the team will not helped – the contract with the Spaniard was not renewed and he left the club as a free agent.

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Erik ten Hag is now looking for a new goalkeeper and would ideally like to acquire a more suitable player for the kick-off. The lineup includes Tom Heaton and Dean Henderson, but both of them aren’t playing the role of the first number right now: the former is a deep spare, and the latter plays poorly on his feet.

Eto’o School, Barcelona youth academy, training at Ajax

The main candidate to replace De Gea is Inter’s Cameroonian goalkeeper Andre Onana, 27. The player’s club have already confirmed interest from Manchester United and are rumored to have asked more than 50 million euros for the player, who he signed a year earlier as a free agent. Some basic introductory notes that make it clear that this is an ideal option for United: the Cameroonian spent four years in Samuel Eto’o’s youth academy, from there he spent five years at Catalan La Masia, and then spent seven years at the Ajax. years-where he spent several seasons with ten Hag. Conclusions: he plays with fresh feet and knows the requirements of the “Red Devils” head coach very well.

Andre Onana and Erik ten Hag at Ajax

Photo: Socrates/Getty Images

The Cameroonian defended the gates of Ajax ten Hag in the same season in which the club reached the semifinals of the Champions League, crushing Real Madrid and Juventus along the way. Based on the results of that European Cup campaign in 2019, Onan was included in the contenders for the Lev Yashin trophy, an analogue of the Ballon d’Or for goalkeepers. “He has a natural talent, he is an incredible athlete,” ten Hag praised the player.

Andre’s second highlight, albeit with a minus sign, is a doping story that caused him to miss nine months. Initially, the goalkeeper was given a one-year ban, but following appeal, the ban was reduced. Banned furosemide was found in the athlete’s blood -in the official statement of the Club everything is explained by a misunderstanding- the footballer accidentally took the drug from his wife.

André Onana

Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

“Very stupid. There is little humanity in football, we have no margin for error, they treat us like robots. This is a hard lesson,” Onana lamented then. The incident occurred in January 2021 and put the brilliant career on hold in development of a goalkeeper, who little by little was becoming one of the benchmarks in Europe.

Rehabilitation at Inter: trophies and Champions League final

In 2022, Andre moved to Inter and sat on the bench for a couple of months behind Samir Handanovic, practicing in the Champions League group stage. But very soon the Cameroonian became the main one in all tournaments. By the Champions League final, Onana had fully recovered his reputation and became the main candidate to replace David de Gea at Manchester United, a club accustomed to having great goalkeepers.

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Onana has been a key player at Ajax ten Haga for several years and knows the requirements of a coach very well. Andre has a wide passing range, is confident on the ball, dominates the defensive line and is reliable on the tape. The Guardian highlighted these skills in the recent Champions League final – Inter lost 1-0 to Manchester City – but the 27-year-old Cameroonian displayed world-class goalkeeping skills.

Onan’s coldness on the example of the Champions League final

It was from City that they expected the team to dominate possession and break the opponent through goalkeeper pressure, but in fact Inter created a lot of problems for the opponent thanks to this component. In many ways, this was made possible by the bravery of Onan, who distributes the ball from the penalty area onto the pitch.

To counter Andre with the ball at their feet, City had to press high for most of the game, almost always to no avail. As Pep Guardiola explained in an interview with CBS Sports before the final, it is a difficult task when a goalkeeper handles the ball at the level of a Cameroonian.

“When the opponent has a goalkeeper like that, it’s hard to press high. For Inter’s style, Onana is an exceptional goalkeeper, the positional game is built from him. He is very, very good. Well, his connection with Lautaro, Lukaku, Dzeko, they are masters at holding the ball. United, for example, throw a long ball to Rashford and the others, but they don’t hold the ball. These same guys are used to keeping possession and then running towards the gate”, Pep expanded.

André Onana against Erling Haaland

Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, Championship

Guardiola highlighted one of United’s biggest problems last season: the inability to keep the ball and constantly open up for the opposition. It would be unfair to blame a player for this, because football is a team sport. But it begins and ends with the goalkeeper. If the goalkeeper is not able to set up a goal kick and maintain possession, it is much more difficult for the team to pick up the pace and create chances. And this, in turn, causes uncertainty and nervousness.

By the way, Onan has a story about this. After an unsuccessful match, the guy simply forbade himself to be afraid! It sounds strange, but Andre explained everything from a philosophical point of view.

André Onana

inter goalkeeper

“Did I experience extreme fear during the match? Yes. And after that game I told myself that this will not happen again, if we have a game with Real Madrid or Barça, I won’t be afraid. If there are 22 players on the field against us, I won’t be afraid of him. Because once, out of fear, I lost the final of the Europa League (in 2017 – Approx. “Championship”).

Onan’s main skill by a wide margin is ball layout. She is able to control it and pass in a limited space while maintaining maximum calm. And also give passes with the precision of a midfielder. As a midfielder in goal, he was one of Inter’s most important players.

André rarely loses his cool and knows how to shoot the ball accurately at any distance, which helps to master possession. His role often requires courage: he must hold the ball as long as possible and press to destroy the opponent’s compactness and create free space for teammates.

she is in

Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, Championship

After Istanbul’s performance against City, the contrast between Onana and De Gea couldn’t be more evident. The Spaniard almost did not leave the goalkeeper throughout the match. His maxim is the rare incursions to the limits of the penalty area and the simple passes to the neighbor without pressing or throwing the ball into someone else’s field. Andre, while in possession, will often rise above center backs, becoming, in effect, an extra outfield.

This allows midfield players to spread out more and create opportunities to easily move into open space. At the same time, it turns out that he pushes the full-backs up. Thanks to this, Inter players receive the ball more often in the dangerous areas of the opponent’s field. The same move helps central midfielders overcome the first (and sometimes second) line of pressure, gaining space and attacking options.

Onana surpasses the centrals

Photo: Screenshot of the transmission.

Onan’s abilities are needed to create a numerical advantage in certain areas across the field. At the same time, the threat of a precise long pass from the Cameroonian often makes the opponent’s defense sink deeper. The opposition’s need for tight defense leads to free zones in midfield, and Onana and Inter took advantage of them. But, as Guardiola pointed out before the game, a threat from the goalkeeper is not enough: the quality of the passes must be perfect, without this, all advantages are nullified. And with the accuracy of the pass, Andre also has no problems.

Onana cuts four opponents with one pass

Photo: Screenshot of the transmission.

In the 41st minute, Onana showed his great control of the ball by giving Marcelo Brozovic a low pass without problems. This seemingly simple move allowed Inter to slice through several opponents at once, coming under pressure.

In the moments in which the Cameroonian manages to neutralize the first line of pressure, Inter’s attackers have time and space to position themselves correctly in the opposite field. This makes it easier to advance the ball and allows you to attack from a more aggressive position.

Goalkeepers have been used for years to create numbers on the ball and break high pressure, but Inter and Onana have taken the system to the next level. The Cameroonian advances further up the field, helping to pass the central block. Similar experiments occurred: in the same “City” with Claudio Bravo. But for the first time such an aggressive style is used at the highest level. If this works in the Champions League final with the strongest team in Europe, why can’t you practice throughout the season?

SHE IS IN

Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, Championship

Onan’s elite performance highlighted the gap between him and De Gea, especially in contrast to the Spaniard’s performance against Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-final. David was involved in all three goals conceded to United in the second leg. Including an imprecise pass, after which they scored an empty goal. One of De Gea’s worst games in 12 years at the club.

And all the qualities of the Cameroonian (handling the ball, organization of the defense, actions on the tape, help to build attacks) make him a much more developed footballer. Onana fits the role of goalkeeper ten Hag is looking for to get the most out of his system. It’s easy to imagine Andre directing United’s defense next season, or blasting the ball in front of a fleeing Marcus Rashford.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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