Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag scolded over wasting Man Utd millions and for ditching star better than under-fire first choice

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag after the final whistle in the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, London.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag unhappy

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has been told he has made a grave mistake ditching a star he never once played at Old Trafford in favour of signing £47.2m man Andre Onana.

The Red Devils boss opted to reunite with the Cameroon keeper over the summer, having previously worked with him at Ajax and being wowed by his performances for Inter Milan in the Champions League. Those performances inspired the Nerazzurri to reach the UCL final, where they just fell narrowly short against Manchester City.

Nonetheless, Onana‘s efforts were inspired and Ten Hag wasted little time in persuading club bosses to swoop to bring him in as a long-term successor to David De Gea, who departed Old Trafford at the end of his contract.

And after weeks of talks, Manchester United eventually landed on a deal for Onana that cost them an initial £43.8m, with an addition £3.4m in add-ons, making him one of the three most expensive goalkeepers of all time.

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However, little has gone right for the 27-year-old since the switch to Old Trafford with the goalkeeper taking a long time to adjust to his surroundings and guilty of a number of glaring errors.

His displays have improved somewhat in recent times, with Onana now managing seven clean sheets in 24 Premier League matches.

But given the money spent on his signing, together with the fact that his arrival was expected to revolutise United’s style of play and ability to play out from the back, the jury remains out over whether his signing has been a shrewd one.

Man Utd told Jack Butland could have saved them millions

Onana’s form for United is in stark contrast to Jack Butland, the keeper who moved to Old Trafford on loan from Crystal Palace in the 2023 January window.

The former England stopper was one of three arrivals for Ten Hag that month, alongside Wout Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer, but failed to make a single appearance during his time at Old Trafford.

Since then, Butland has moved to Rangers on a free transfer and has proved an inspired signing for the Gers, keeping 20 clean sheets from 40 appearances so far.

Now former Rangers star John Brown has told Ten Hag he would have been better signing Butland up than splashing out millions on Onana.

“I was always a fan of Butland,” Brown said. “I was surprised he never got more minutes down south. When I look at the Premier League there are a lot of goalkeepers down there that I’d say Jack Butland is better than.

“He was at Manchester United and for me their first-choice goalkeeper… if I was going for a steady keeper then Jack Butland would be my choice. So the fact Rangers got him is fantastic for the club. The other thing is he’s coming into a club with 50,000 every home game.

“He’s playing in Europe, going for trophies, he’s got a trophy in the bag, he probably has another 10 years at the top because of the years he’s missed.”

Butland reveals why he left Man Utd

Butland himself insists he was happy to leave Old Trafford and, at 30 years old, needed to be playing regular football, rather than just waste away on a club’s bench.

And while he could have signed permanently over the summer, he did not want to play second fiddle while clearly not Ten Hag’s first chouce.

Speaking about his time at United, Butland said: “As much as I enjoyed Palace and as good as United was, I missed playing. And that’s important to me All right, ‘Could you be at United?’

“Well, yes, but what would the rest of my career look like? That was important to me. I wanted 30 onwards to be something l look back on as a successful period and not one that drifted away.”

Instead, United opted to shell out £4.3m to sign Altay Bayindir from Fenerbahce, who joined as deputy for Onana. The Turk recently made his debut in the 4-2 FA Cup win against Newport County.

Butland, meanwhile, has won nine caps for England, the most recent coming in 2018 during a 1-0 win over Switzerland.

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