How Andre Onana will improve Manchester United

Andre Onana could add defensive and attacking flair to Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo.

David de Gea’s long-awaited departure from Manchester United has been confirmed and it is only a matter of time before his replacement Andre Onana makes his entrance. The Inter Milan star made a lot of headlines in the Champions League last season and is clearly one of the best in the game. Alas, De Gea’s errors eclipsed his one-time brilliance and thus a change was a no-brainer.

However, it is in a specific manner and decisive fashion that Onana’s signing will impact Erik ten Hag. Here’s how:

1. Build-up

A constant struggle that plagued De Gea was his inability to smoothly build the play from the back. In Onana, United will have one of the best in the business at the task. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the club will have acquired an extra player to increase the pressure when in possession.

The calmness he brings to the field when added to the potential of making line-breaking passes to the likes of Bruno Fernandes is precisely the sort of threat that the club were missing last season. In fact, if a player of Mason Mount’s calibre is found accurately and often enough, passes on the half-turn will be a delight.

2. Proactive

It certainly appears that the Cameroonian international will most improve the areas where his long-serving predecessor suffered. Take for instance the 27-year-old’s knack for deftly claiming crosses: removing a recurrent threat of conceding.

Moreover, as he is also a sweeper-keeper, the club will benefit from using him by raising the defensive high-line and being decisive in how they initiate their counter-press by overloading the final third. Gone are the days of a spectator keeper; Onana is often in the thick of things.

3. Attack

It is rare for a defensive signing to have an attacking tactical advantage and yet this is precisely what Red Devils will have ready in their holster. Apart from what is already mentioned, the sheer versatility on offer when it comes to distribution is any manager’s dream.

If required to go long Onana has the ability to find the lone forward in a neat fashion. Likewise, smooth counter-attacking can be initiated through quick passing and the best use of all channels. An all-round package with immense potential.


All in all, the club will need a man of his repertoire to ease the transition into the modern brand of football that Ten Hag is keen on constructing at Old Trafford.