Home ยป Andre Onana ban: Exploring the reasons behind the decision in 2021 and his frosty history with Erik ten Hag

Andre Onana ban: Exploring the reasons behind the decision in 2021 and his frosty history with Erik ten Hag

by Vatsal Gupta

Manchester United are close to securing their second signing of the summer in Andre Onana and the fans are understandably excited.

Onana broke through at Ajax under Erik ten Hag and is at the peak of his career right now after a starring performance for Inter Milan in the 2022/23 season.

However, things haven’t always been rosy between the pair, particularly near the end of his time at Ajax. The relationship reportedly turned frosty after the Andre Onana ban forced the Cameroonian to consider his options.

Here’s a look at the history of the Andre Onana ban, why it happened, and how it affected his relationship with Ten Hag.

Andre Onana ban- Why did it happen?

Onana was found guilty of ingesting Lasimac, a Furosemid-based diuretic, which is a banned substance under doping laws. Consequently, he was banned for 12 months from football which was later reduced to nine months.

However, the story is not so simple, and in Onana’s version, he simply was extremely unlucky, and mildly careless.

In October 2020, when Onana had the world at his feet, he was suffering from a simple headache. He looked for something to soothe his pain and took a tablet.

What he thought was simple paracetamol- Litacold- instead turned out to be Lasimac, which was prescribed to his pregnant wife at the time.

When the verdict arrived, Onana and Ajax were shocked but everything made sense once they went to his house and saw the medicine box, as this report by The Guardian details.

Onana plead that the “packaging was almost identical” of the two medicines and his ban was “excessive and disproportionate” as it was the result of a “simple human mistake”.

The case was ultimately brought to the Court of Arbitration for Sports where his account of the events was carefully considered and his ban was reduced to nine months.

The court said that “no significant fault” could be attributed to Onana but kept the ban to nine months for the player’s “negligence”.

However, even the reduced Andre Onana ban would ultimately harm his relationship with Ajax, and by extension, Ten Hag.

Andre Onana and Erik ten Hag- A relationship turned sour

The goalkeeper was banned in February 2021 and returned to action in November 2021. However, things had changed at Ajax in the meantime.

Erik ten Hag didn’t draft him into the first team straight away. He only started playing regularly near the end of the season in 2022.

By then, Onana was making it clear that he wouldn’t sign a new contract at Ajax which would allow them to get a fee for him. He eventually moved to Inter Milan on a free transfer.

The impending departure played a role in his decline in form and reports at the time said the manager grew frustrated with his fitness levels and subpar displays.

He was starting to get booed by his own fans as a spell that began with so much promise turned toxic. Onana fanned the flames, saying he “didn’t give a s–t” about the fans booing him.

This was always going to be unacceptable to a manager who preaches standards. The nadir of his spell came when Ten Hag dropped him from the squad completely for the crucial Dutch Cup final against PSV.

The match was lost and the manager was questioned for his call, but Ten Hag remain undeterred. Andre Onana never played for Ajax again.

The sequence of events might remind fans of the episode with Cristiano Ronaldo at United where Ten Hag’s bold call soured things quickly but the manager dug his heels to ultimately win over the critics.

Now that Onana is willing to join United to renew acquaintances with Ten Hag, it can be seen as yet another example of the manager winning over his critics.

Ten Hag, for his part, has been the key driver in the chase for Onana, going as far as to reject alternatives offered by the club. Ultimately, the beneficiary of the thawing in the relationship will be the club, who’ll finally have a modern goalkeeper between the posts.

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