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Three Manchester United players must step up after Andre Onana signing



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Credit: Imago

Manchester United have announced the signing of goalkeeper Andre Onana to replace the departed David de Gea.

Onana, 27, is now reunited with manager Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford. The pair worked together for five years at Ajax before they left for Milan and Manchester respectively.

The Cameroon goalkeeper was the Dutch manager’s top choice to replace De Gea, who left at the expiry of his contract.

After completing his medical, Onana has travelled to the United States to meet up with his new teammates ahead of a potential debut against Arsenal on Saturday.

With Onana coming in, there is much excitement within the United fanbase about his abilities on the ball.

What was De Gea’s biggest weakness is Onana’s largest strength. He is simply elite on the ball – Pep Guardiola even highlighted this ability ahead of the Champions League final.

However, United’s build-up will not simply transform due to the introduction of the goalkeeper. It will certainly improve but there are still aspects that need to be adjusted in order for United to get the most out of their elite ball-players and move into the style that Ten Hag wants to play.

Long term, The Reds will want to upgrade certain players. Right now, however, there are players who will have to take responsibility in the deeper phases as the team adjust to a different game with Onana in net.

In fact, three players in particular, who can aid the kind of football that Ten Hag is eager to play with the new shot-stopper, must show their abilities next term in order to maximise the build-up at Old Trafford.

Lisandro Martinez

Lisandro Martinez was Manchester United’s primary ball-playing defender last term. His excellent debut season in red saw him take to the Premier League like a duck to water and dismiss any doubts about whether he could adapt to the English game.

With such quality on the ball , Martinez should be able to hit even higher levels with a stronger ball-playing goalkeeper behind him. He is the main player that could make the switch from De Gea to Onana easier and will almost certainly sustain – or even improve – his level.

Luke Shaw

If it wasn’t Martinez leading the side from the back on the ball, it was Luke Shaw. The left-back was excellent throughout the season, even when filling in at centre-back when needed.

Another player with great build-up qualities, he will be a big help as United look to move forward and adjust their game with the new goalkeeper.


Casemiro was arguably United’s best player last season, even though Marcus Rashford came away with the awards at the end-of-year ceremony. He almost single-handedly transformed the midfield at Old Trafford, especially off the ball.

However, his on-ball abilities shocked many who were not too familiar with his game from Real Madrid. He provided great passing range and progressive moments, however, these were somewhat inconsistent in his game after the disruption of his two red cards in the second half of the season.

We know that Casemiro has strengths elsewhere, but if he is able to find the consistency he had in the first half of last campaign on the ball this term, then it will help Onana and United settle into a new style of play much easier.