Manchester United have, after bidding farewell to David de Gea, been warned by Rio Ferdinand to expect more “mistakes” from Andre Onana.
- Spanish keeper released as a free agent
- New No.1 being lined up
- Big-money for Cameroon international
WHAT HAPPENED? The Red Devils are reported to be closing in on a big-money deal for the Cameroonian goalkeeper, with a transfer expected to be agreed with Serie A giants Inter at around the €55 million (£47m/$60m) mark. United are in need of a new No.1 after allowing the long-serving De Gea to walk away as a free agent, with Erik ten Hag set to bring in a player that he has previously worked with at Ajax.
WHAT THEY SAID: Ferdinand believes Onana is the right choice to succeed De Gea, but has told his FIVE YouTube channel that United fans should expect more errors between the sticks: “If Onana is coming in, I think he’s a fantastic signing. A huge talent and a real modern-day goalkeeper. You see teams pressing him and he does not even panic. He gets the ball into him, brings on the press, says ‘come on, come to me’, and then when that player comes to him he knows there’s a player free somewhere else and he normally finds them.
“I think there will be mistakes and playing that risky way, you do have mistakes and that happens. But it’s about staying true to your beliefs, finding a right balance and remaining confident throughout those periods. It’s interesting to see how this pans out, but I believe this is a deal that will be made at some point through this transfer window.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ferdinand added on United turning to Onana after allowing De Gea – who boasts more clean sheets than any other Red Devils keeper in history – to move on at the end of his contract: “I remember, and I watched a lot of Ajax when Erik ten Hag was there, and a lot of what he wants to do is about playing out from the back. You can see when he first came [to United] they got caught numerous times. Brentford is a game which sticks out in my mind away where they were trying to implement his playing style, which is definitely playing out from the back from the goalkeeper.
“They got pressed and they got battered and bruised doing that. Then they switched after that and started playing a bit longer and balancing out playing out from the back and then going long. I think ideally he will want to be a team that play out from the back immediately and control possession and control through the different transitions and phases of the game. To do that, you need a goalkeeper who is completely competent, really good, calm and authoritative and confident in doing that. Onana absolutely fits the bill.
“I remember that I spoke to Pep [Guardiola] before the Champions League final and he highlighted Onana, the goalkeeper, as somebody that they’re going to have to prepare for. How many goalkeepers do you normally have to prepare for in terms of building up and building out from the back? There ain’t many in world football. Onana is one of them, so he’ll definitely give Manchester United a presence. He’ll give Man United more confidence and more ability to play out from the back and I think he suits an Erik ten Hag team completely, so I can see that deal being done.”
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WHAT NEXT? United have already tied up a £60m ($77m) deal for England international playmaker Mason Mount in the summer window and will hope that there is more business to come after an agreement for Onana is thrashed out, with a long-running takeover saga at Old Trafford still dragging on behind the scenes.