Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd make ‘concrete’ move for Champions League king with ruthless Ten Hag to replace limited star

Inter Milan goalkeeper Andre Onana

Inter Milan goalkeeper Andre Onana is to sign for Man Utd

Erik ten Hag is warming to the idea of axing a current Man Utd star with notable limitations, and a report has claimed a ‘concrete’ move for a more suitable upgrade has been made.

There have long been doubts as to precisely how suited David de Gea is to an Erik ten Hag side. Concerns were raised almost as soon as the Dutchman arrived at Old Trafford, with Ten Hag known to favour a possession-based game.

As such, he requires his stoppers to be as good with their feet as they are with their hands. Furthermore, Ten Hag wants his goalkeepers to adopt a slightly higher starting position to allow his defensive line to push further up the field to help pen the opposition deep inside their own half.

De Gea remains the undisputed No 1 at Old Trafford and is a modern-day club legend. Indeed, the decorated Spaniard is both a four-time Man Utd Players’ Player of the Year and a five-time selection for the PFA Team of the Season.

However, the Mirror recently doubled down on the claims De Gea is not what Ten Hag truly wants between the sticks. Club legend Paul Scholes echoed those sentiments when acknowledging modern managers all favour a keeper who can act as an 11th outfield player when in possession.

Man Utd have thus far opted against activating the one-year option in De Gea’s contract. That was with a view to forging an entirely new agreement to commit his future to the club, though United’s first offer was swiftly rejected.

The Athletic explained the colossal pay-cut United expected De Gea to take was to blame. De Gea pockets around £375,000-a-week right now, but United hoped he’d accept a huge decrease to around £200,000-a-week.

With progress over a new deal stalling, reports out of Italy suggest Ten Hag has ordered Man Utd to move for a player who’s taken the Champions League by storm this season.

Man Utd eyeing Champions League phenom

Inter Milan’s Andre Onana is the player in question, with the 27-year-old’s mark of six clean sheets leading the competition. Even more remarkable is his monstrous lead in the goals prevented category.

Onana sits atop the pile with a figure of 7.8 goals prevented this season. That puts him three clear of Club Brugge’s Simon Mignolet (4.8) in second, and 3.4 goals prevented clear of Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois (4.4) in third, according to FotMob.

Inter currently hold a two-goal advantage at the halfway mark in their quarter-final clash with Benfica. Onana is yet to concede a single goal in the knockout rounds across three matches.

Inter are in desperate need of raising funds this summer to help balance the books. Wing-back Denzel Dumfries was reportedly the player they’d earmarked to take the fall, though per Corriere dello Sport, the situation has changed.

Via Sport Witness, it’s suggested Dumfries is no longer likely to collect the type of fee Inter require. As such, they’re warming to the idea of cashing in on Onana who was signed as a free agent from Ajax last summer.

Thankfully for Inter, they might not have long to wait to find a buyer. Man Utd are stated to have ‘moved in the most concrete way in the wake of Ten Hag’s indications’.

It’s noted Ten Hag knows Onana well through their time together in Amsterdam. Ten Hag has shown he is more than prepared to forge reunions with stars he’s previously managed, with Lisandro Martinez and Antony recent examples.

The report adds Ten Hag has ‘expressed a desire to change’ from De Gea being his go-to goalkeeper. He’s reportedly seeking ‘different characteristics’ from his next stopper, with the inference being he wants someone who’s better with the ball at feet.

Nothing is advanced as yet, though an interesting idea is floated at the end of the piece.

It’s claimed the one-year option in De Gea’s contract could be activated ahead of the Spaniard then leaving as a free agent in 2024. United could still sign Onana this summer, though retaining De Gea would allow for a ‘softer’ transition between the sticks.

Another Italian outlet in the form of Gazzetta dello Sport have also claimed Onana could be the one to depart Inter this summer. Like Corriere, Gazzetta tipped Man Utd as his potential next destination.

If Inter do greenlight an Onana sale, they’ll command ‘no less than €40m’ (approx. £35m).

READ MORE: Ten Hag plans to unleash Man Utd youngster on the Premier League next season, but two wingers will leave