Andre Onana’s signing has arguably generated more excitement than any other signing in recent memory bar Cristiano Ronaldo, although that was for nostalgic reasons.
Erik ten Hag definitely shares the excitement, as the manager revealed why the club pushed to sign the Cameroonian in an interview with the club’s channel.
He gave a three-part reasoning to the question, the second of which speaks volumes of how he rated David de Gea’s suitability this his style of play.
Firstly, he stressed that the primary criterion for a good goalkeeper is “keeping the goal clean”. While he emphasised the role of the whole defensive organisation in achieving that, he also credited Onana with having the skills to save a goal with his shot-stopping.
Then came the most important part.
He explained how football now demands “good playing from the back” which is “a quality Andre has”. He pointed out that modern teams need to “cover both areas” and Onana’s skillset means they’re happy to have him.
The third and final part was the intangible that Ten Hag has stressed the most since arriving.
The squad was lacking leadership figures prior to his arrival and that is the area he sought to rectify quickly with the signings of Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro, in particular, last season.
Onana, in his opinion, continues that trend. He said Onana, with his personality, “is so keen on winning”.
“He’s so, so eager to win trophies and he will help the squad to get to higher levels,” he said.
He also expressed the confidence he has in the communication skills of his new goalkeeper, especially with Martinez, who he played with at Ajax.
The Dutchman revealed Onana had “a good relationship” with Martinez at Ajax which should help a lot as “you need social and communication skills” to get to “very high standards” at Manchester United.
The manager was gushing in his praise for his new signing and it is clear now why he pushed so hard to secure him, even reportedly rejecting alternatives offered by the club.
United can look forward to a new era between the sticks now as Ten Hag begins to implement his preferred style of play with the squad taking another step closer to his ideal outfit.