Erik ten Hag is “open” to dropping Andre Onana if the goalkeeper’s form does not improve, according to a report by ESPN.
Rob Dawson contends the Manchester United manager is prepared to make a switch in goal if the mistakes which have plagued Onana’s start to life at Old Trafford continue.
Dawson stresses, however, that the Cameroonian goalkeeper continues to receive the backing of his manager at present.
Ten Hag and his coaching staff believe Onana will recover from his shaky start and are working on a combination of improvements in confidence and technical adjustments to help the goalkeeper rediscover the form which saw United pursue his services this summer.
Signed at great expense from Inter Milan, Onana arrived as one of the premier shot-stoppers in European football. The Cameroonian was nominated for FIFA’s Best Goalkeeper award for the 2022/23 season, helping his side reach the Champions League final.
Tasked with replacing David De Gea, Onana’s purchase was intended to be an important part of the United team’s continued evolution under Ten Hag.
Having worked with the Dutch manager at Ajax, where the pair thrived both domestically and continentally, Onana’s proactive style and ability to play out from the back were considered prized assets his predecessor had lacked.
Indeed, this radical shift in profile between the sticks is seen by Ten Hag as one contributing factor to Onana’s poor form. Dawson writes: “Ten Hag is conscious that some of the teething problems are down to the rest of the team transitioning from one goalkeeper who was cautious in possession to another who wants to take risks.”
This transition does not excuse the almost comical nature of some of Onana’s mistakes, however.
Ten Hag appears to recognise this unfortunate reality and is ready to give Altay Bayindir a chance should it continue.
Bayindir was targeted by United this summer ahead of more youthful alternatives, precisely because of his experience. Onana’s prospective departure to play in the African Cup of Nations made a viable backup goalkeeper all the more pressing a need at Old Trafford.
If Onana’s calamitous form continues, Bayindir may receive his first audition between the sticks earlier than anticipated.