Andre Onana has described the evolved role of the goalkeeper ahead of his proposed move to Manchester United.
The Inter Milan shot-stopper is set for an imminent Old Trafford switch to reunite with his former manager Erik ten Hag.
Having worked together at Ajax for five years, the pair know exactly what to expect from each other and the Dutch manager is keen to add Onana’s quality on the ball to his United side.
To understand the role in which the 27-year-old occupies, you also have to consider the changing role of the goalkeeper. The phrase ‘modern goalkeeper’ is now regularly used within the media – this is because there is a stark difference with how top goalkeepers now play out of the back compared to their predecessors.
“The way I feel about football, especially as a goalkeeper in the last 20 years, it is the position that has changed the most,” Onana explained, as quoted by Tactics Journal.
The Inter no.1 displayed a perfect ‘modern goalkeeping’ performance in the Champions League final against Manchester City last month. Despite being on the losing side, he was near perfect in possession and helped his side progress play and get into dangerous areas.
Several passes were slid through the lines of Pep Guardiola’s team’s press. Onana has explained that this is something that he has learnt is crucial over his playing years. In fact, Onana also goes onto detail other important attributes that goalkeepers must have now in the modern game.
“When I learned to play, they told me ‘André, you should never play through the centre’ when I was young. But nowadays I tell you, if there’s space, come on. You always have to play where there’s space,” he explained. “And today, when I talk about a goalkeeper, I talk about a modern goalkeeper who can play with his feet, who is good one on one, who is brave, who transmits security, and is good at claiming the high balls.
“And having this goalkeeper would be an advantage for your team because in the end, you would always have numerical superiority. If the opposing team comes one on one, you have the numerical superiority only with the goalkeeper.”
This will give United fans a sneak peak of what is to come. It is understood that the two clubs have agreed on a fee for the transfer of Onana and it is a matter of time before a deal is fully complete so the goalkeeper can travel to the United States with The Reds.
It will be a stark change from what the club were used to with De Gea between the sticks, but it will certainly help Ten Hag move towards his preferred playing style.
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