Pep Guardiola has explained why Andre Onana could be a good signing Manchester United

Pep Guardiola has explained why Andre Onana could be a good signing Manchester United

Statistics are informative but not comprehensive. In Inter’s journey to the Champions League final, Andre Onana achieved eight clean sheets and saved 73.5% of shots on target in Serie A.

Despite his impressive performance, Onana did not receive the Italian Golden Glove award this season. However, he made fewer errors than David de Gea, who won the equivalent award in the Premier League.

Mistakes against Brentford, West Ham, and Sevilla had severe consequences for Manchester United. Consequently, Erik ten Hag has not confirmed Onana as the first-choice goalkeeper for the next season. On passes exceeding 30 yards, Onana’s completion rate stands at 54.7%, making him the fourth most accurate goalkeeper in the Premier League among those who have played more than three games. If the comparison is limited to those who have played 15 or more games, he would rank third.

In contrast, De Gea’s long-distance pass completion rate puts him in the middle of the table. However, it’s important to consider the context.

Serie A is known for its slower pace compared to the Premier League, resulting in less pressing urgency. In terms of long-distance passing, Onana ranks third among Serie A goalkeepers who have played more than 13 matches.

Additionally, he was one of several goalkeepers in the league to maintain a 100% completion rate for short passes this season. Nevertheless, statistics alone cannot provide the complete picture.
Interest in Onana goes beyond his goalkeeping skills.

In Serie A last season, the Cameroonian player successfully completed all his passes within 15 yards and had a 98% success rate for attempts under 30 yards.

The nature of Onana’s passes is not the sole determining factor; it’s also crucial to consider when he passes, how he passes, the stage of the match, the recipient of his passes, his positioning, and his vision. These aspects are not typically captured in a database.

In terms of selecting goalkeepers who are confident in their passing abilities, it is wise to pay attention to the opinions of someone like Guardiola. Victor Valdes was considered ahead of his time at Barcelona, achieving an impressive 85% pass success rate during the first half of the 2011/12 season.

“The perfect image of this game was that after the goal Victor Valdes continued playing the ball,” Guardiola once said after an El Clasico win.

“Real Madrid steam-roller you. Most goalkeepers would boot it. But Victor kept playing the ball. I prefer us to lose the ball like that but give continuity to our play.”

Guardiola continued to implement his philosophy of goalkeepers who excel in their passing abilities, evident in his time at Bayern Munich with Manuel Neuer and at Manchester City with Claudio Bravo before Ederson. Ederson, in fact, had the highest success rate for long-ball passes among Premier League goalkeepers this season.

Furthermore, ahead of the Champions League final, Guardiola spoke highly of Onana, acknowledging his exceptional abilities in building up play. Guardiola stated, “They [Inter] have a real good process, starting from Onana, an exceptional goalkeeper in the build-up – one of the best in the world right now.”

Ten Hag, who was previously mentored by Guardiola during his time managing Bayern Munich’s second team, shares the desire for goalkeepers who can initiate plays from the back. In his first year at the helm, Ten Hag had to compromise due to De Gea’s poor game-reading skills, highlighted by a disastrous performance against Brentford last August.

Moving forward, Ten Hag seeks a modern goalkeeper who possesses both excellent shot-stopping abilities and the capacity to contribute to the team’s attacking play through their feet. De Gea’s performance this season demonstrated that he does not meet this standard.

Onana, having previously worked with Ten Hag at Ajax, likely developed his ball skills under the Dutchman’s guidance. Guardiola has served as a reminder to Onana of the opportunities he is currently missing at Manchester United.

Pep Guardiola has explained why Andre Onana could be a good signing Manchester United

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