Ten Hag: Onana transfer signals new direction

Friday 21 July 2023 12:10

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has explained the thinking behind the club's latest signing: goalkeeper Andre Onana.

The Cameroonian has joined the Reds from Champions League finalists Internazionale, having previously worked with our Dutch boss when the pair were together at Ajax.
Ahead of our next pre-season match – Saturday's live MUTV meeting with Arsenal in New Jersey (22:00 BST) – Ten Hag sat down with club media to talk about his new goalkeeper.
In a wide-ranging chat, Erik stressed that Onana's diverse range of skills, and his strong personality, convinced him to press ahead with the transfer.
Why Ten Hag wanted Onana Video

Why Ten Hag wanted Onana

In our big interview with Erik, available from 07:00 BST on Saturday, the boss explains the signing of Andre Onana...

"Most important, always for a keeper, is clean sheets and he's not doing that on his own," began the manager. "Therefore, you need a very good defensive organisation, [it's] quite clear. But also the capabilities of a keeper is [about] keeping the goal clean. So this is the first criterion of a good goalkeeper. 
"But, nowadays, football also demands good playing from the back, out-playing qualities, and that is a quality Andre has. You need both and you need to cover both areas. So yeah, we're happy, of course.
"I think with his physical presence and also with his personality, he is so keen on winning. He's so, so eager to win trophies and he will help the team and he will help the squad to get to higher levels."
Intriguingly, Onana also played alongside left-sided United centre-back Lisandro Martinez while at Ajax. And Ten Hag believes the connection Onana can create with the back four – not only with the ball, but also in terms of organisation – can add an new dimension to the Reds' style.
"Did he have a good relationship with Martinez at Ajax? Yeah, of course. With the centre-half, it’s very important, that communication. That is always very important. It's about the co-operation, the team. The keeper with his back four, the keeper with his whole team. It has to be connected. 
"So you need the social and communication skills to get that on the highest level, on the level with the demand and the standards are very high in the Premier League and especially with Manchester United."