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Former Manchester United players disagree on André Onana and David de Gea



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Credit: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

André Onana signed for Manchester United last month to replace the outgoing David de Gea as Erik ten Hag’s new first-choice goalkeeper.

David de Gea departed Manchester United after 12 seasons with the gloves, with Erik ten Hag letting the Spaniard’s contract expire at the end of June.

To replace the ‘keeper, Ten Hag has brought in André Onana, whose new style of play is set to unlock an entirely new style of football at Old Trafford.

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This has not gone unnoticed by former Red Louis Saha, who has sung the praises of the Cameroonian’s signing.

“I think Onana is a great signing for Manchester United. I know many fans and players would have been sad to see David de Gea leave, but we have to move on,” Saha told BetFred.

“Onana is certainly a player that’s capable of making this team even better and he will allow them to play a different kind of football. We will be able to play ten metres higher up the field because Onana is capable of coming out with the ball at his feet.

“However, the problem that come with that is that opposing sides will try and take advantage when he is off his line, so the team is going to have to find the right balance to ensure that they’re not too open when they’re high up the field.

“Onana potentially brings a weakness in that aspect, but that’s not a problem as Manchester United do need to play with a goalkeeper that possesses Onana’s abilities offensively if they’re to catch up on the teams ahead of them. 

“He’s a great, great signing and he is going to concede some goals, as all players in his position will, but that’s just the nature of being a goalkeeper. In regard to the incident where he shouted at Harry Maguire during pre-season, I’m glad that Manchester United has a goalkeeper that takes responsibility and looks to lead his defence and the rest of the team.

“The team needs players that can raise their voice and put pressure on their teammates. The charisma of the squad overall is increasing.”

Rio Ferdinand, however, does not agree with the notion that it was time to let De Gea go in favour of signing Onana, explaining that it’s “weird” to see the former No. 1 depart.

“I think if you listen to Erik ten Hag and how he’s spoken about him, that’s (ball-playing ability) the big angle that has swayed his decision,” Ferdinand said. “In terms of shot-stopping, David de Gea would have been widely regarded as one of the best in the world, and rightly so.

“He won the Golden Glove last year in the Premier League. It’s weird, isn’t it? The keeper that wins the Golden Glove is surplus to requirements at the end of the season.”

The former United defender did however explain that Onana comes with positives, helping Ten Hag establish his preferred style of play.

“His style of play will enable Erik ten Hag to implement the way he wants his team to play. I think he was probably restricted a bit with David de Gea because his traits as a footballing goalkeeper are not as strong as someone like Onana’s.”