On April 9, 2022, at the Johan Cruyff Arena, Andre Onana faced a difficult situation. Despite Ajax’s 2-1 victory over Sparta Rotterdam, the goalkeeper was booed by his own fans. The team, led by coach Erik ten Hag, was on the verge of securing the title, but the focus was now on the controversies surrounding Onana, whom they call the “Cameroonian Cat.”
When questioned about the booing, Ten Hag dismissed it, stating that he wasn’t bothered by it and that fans could express themselves however they wanted. But the real issue was Onana’s contract situation. The goalkeeper was rumored to be considering a move to Inter on a free transfer at the end of the season, which disappointed many supporters and the club.
Previously, Onana had faced a 12-month suspension due to drug use, but Ajax stood by him and continued to pay his salary during his absence. There were opportunities to sell him for a considerable sum before his ban, which could have been beneficial for the financially struggling Ajax. However, that didn’t materialize, and now they face uncertainty regarding the goalkeeper’s future.
Onana’s form had been inconsistent lately, with notable errors in important matches, both for Ajax and Cameroon in the Africa Cup of Nations. Additionally, he missed the Dutch Cup final, raising questions about his role and performance. It seemed that Ten Hag’s trust in him might have wavered, considering he preferred Maarten Stekelenburg in crucial games.
The decision to replace David de Gea with Onana at Manchester United has its own set of risks and uncertainties. The Cameroonian possesses a strong character, but he has had clashes with authority, as demonstrated during the World Cup in Qatar when he was sent home for not following the coach’s instructions.
Despite the controversies, Onana is recognized for his excellent ball-playing skills, a crucial attribute in modern goalkeepers. His passing abilities have impressed experts, drawing comparisons to players like Ederson at Manchester City. This aspect could bring a new dimension to Manchester United’s play, making Onana an intriguing signing for the club.
Erik ten Hag is familiar with Onana’s abilities, having coached him at Ajax for a significant period. This adds a level of comfort and understanding between the player and the coach. Manchester United’s acquisition of Onana marks the third former Ajax player to join the team, showing a growing relationship between the two clubs.
In conclusion, the situation surrounding Andre Onana is complex, with both challenges and opportunities. His potential move to Manchester United could elevate the team’s game and introduce a new style of goalkeeping. However, the risks and uncertainties surrounding him should not be overlooked. Ultimately, his impact on United’s quest to match or surpass the achievements of the treble winners last season.