Manchester United have been fleeced with the €55m package they paid Inter Milan for Andre Onana this summer with Erik ten Hag told his side have badly overpaid for a star who will never be considered world class.
The Red Devils made the bold decision this summer to allow long-serving No 1 David De Gea to depart as a free agent, bringing to an end his stellar 12 season career as United’s No 1. The decision to let him leave came after Ten Hag decided to bring in Onana as No 1; a goalkeeper of whom is seen as one of the best around when it comes to playing out with the ball at his feet, a facet of his game that often let De Gea down in.
However, Onana has endured an inglorious start to his United career, shipping an alarming 10 goals in five Premier League games; a tally worse than winless Sheffield United, Everton and Bournemouth.
Worse was to come too, with Onana conceding four times on the club’s return to the Champions League, with Onana letting a tame Leroy Sane shot squirm through his grasp but at least fronting up for the error after the game.
Now officials at his former club, Inter, are revelling in what has now been branded a ‘masterpiece’ of a sale this summer. Having bought the player in as a free agent just 12 months earlier, the initial £43.8m deal helped ease Inter’s financial issues and also allowed them to bring in a new keeper of their own in Yann Sommer.
Man Utd trolled over fee paid for Andre Onana
Analysing the deals for both Sommer and Onana, journalist Stefano De Grandis has told Sky Italia that there is a real sense at the San Siro that Inter have had United’s eyes out over the deal.
“Sommer is a bargain. In my opinion, in the end it’s worth it for Inter. Firstly because Onana is physically good and had a good season but he’s not world class. Secondly because Inter earned more for Onana than he’s worth,” De Grandis said.
Calciomercato have also weighed in on the Cameroon international’s struggles at Old Trafford. And they state that there is a feeling at Inter, among Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta and their sporting director, Piero Ausilio, that the sale of Onana for the third highest fee ever paid for a goalkeeper, is a ‘masterpiece’.
Furthermore, they feel Onana was never worth that amount in the first place, with his struggles since proving United have badly overpaid for the 27-year-old.
However, Calciomercato do have some words of consolation for Onana, saying he’s ‘not the only problem’ and that he has joined ‘a poorly-constructed club’.
Furthermore, they feel United’s performances last season ‘had deluded that it had overcome its limits and its idiosyncrasy lent itself to the ups and downs that have characterised the last decade’. Or in other words, last season’s season – in which the club finished third and won the Carabao Cup – was actually more of a fluke than a sign of real progress.
A case for the defence
Onana, it has to be said, though, has not been helped by United’s poorly-performing defence. Last season at Inter, Onana only conceded 36 goals in 41 games, keeping eight clean sheets in Inter’s 13-match Champions League run that saw them reach the final, ultimately only losing by a 1-0 margin to Manchester City.
“It’s all been focused – as it happens very often – on one incident: the mistake of Onana,” journalist Guillem Balague told the BBC Radio 5 Live Euro Leagues podcast.
“It was 19 shots from Bayern, nine from Man United. That tells the story. The focus has been on one mistake.
“The big picture is a team that don’t defend very well. Man Utd don’t have a clear idea of how they want to defend.”
Reporter James Horncastle also insists time will tell if Onana proves his worth but is adamant United knew what they were getting when they brought him in.
“He’s presented as this playmaker in gloves, but there’s more to him than that,” said Horncastle.
“I don’t think he’s been signed exclusively for line-breaking passes and helping United beat the press. They want a shot-stopper as well instead.
“He kept Inter in games last season with his hands, not his feet. In time we’ll see the true value of Onana.
“But right now, as with everything at Manchester United, it’s a club that doesn’t have a stable environment, everything is highly pressurised. It’s not an easy environment to come into.”
As it stands, Onana is joint-sixth for saves made in the Premier League this season, with 20 to his name. However, he is only joint 13th for percentage of shots saved at 67 per cent.