MANCHESTER UNITED are in talks with the Cameroon football authorities to stop Andre Onana from having to go to the Africa Cup of Nations Finals.
The Red Devils goalkeeper fears he could lose his number one place at Old Trafford if he is missing in the New Year for up to six games on International duty.
Erik ten Hag has revealed Manchester United are in talks to get around a potential ban for Andre OnanaCredit: Getty
Onana faces a ban from club football if he refuses a Cameroon call up for AFCONCredit: Getty
Onana is said to be fearful of losing his No1 spot if Altay Bayindir plays well in his absenceCredit: Getty
The rules of the competition state, however, that he will be banned from playing for his club if he refuses a call up for the Finals.
But manager Erik ten Hag said: “When they call him, he has to go. But we are in talks.”
Onana had retired from international football after a bust up with Cameroon coach Rigobert Song which saw him leave their World Cup camp in Qatar a year ago after just one game.
The 27-year-old has since made peace with Song – who played for Liverpool between 1999 and 2001 – and done a U-turn on playing for his country.
But the AFCON Finals last from January 13 and February 11 and Onana is concerned that if in that time United’s number two Altay Bayinidir plays well he won’t get his place back.
If Cameroon did call him up and he refused to go they would have to give their own permission to let him play for United for the duration of the tournament.
Ten Hag wants to keep him at Old Trafford as he believes he has one of the best goalkeepers in the world in the 27-year-old.
Onana has come under pressure after high profile blunders most recently in the 3-3 draw against Galatasaray in Istanbul on Wednesday night.
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But the Man Utd boss says not only does he statistically have the second best goalkeeper in the Premier League but he is alongside Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer and Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois on a global level.
Ten Hag said: “If you analyse it well then you see he is the second-best goalkeeper in the Premier League based on stats.
“His expected preventing goals is second-best.
“He’s doing well but he knows that in the Champions League he has made some mistakes but all over in the first five months he has done well.
“In the Champions League, he has so much experience with Ajax and last year with Inter Milan.
“Last year he was with Neuer and Courtois as the best goalkeeper, so he is a great keeper.
“He has the potential, so we have to work on him so that he does it consistently and we will work with him and we will support him.
“The manager, coaches and players all support him.”
Onana ranks second for goals prevented among Premier League goalkeepers
Onana has let in three or more goals on eight occasions this season and 14 in five in the Champions League, a tournament he reached the final of with Inter Milan last season.
That form has left United bottom of Group A.
They have to now beat table toppers Bayern Munich at home on December 12th and hope Galatasaray and Copenhagen draw their for them to advance into the knockout stages.
With so much on the line that night would it not be better to take the £47.2million buy from Inter Milan out the firing line and promote reserve goalkeeper Bayinidir for that game?
Ten Hag said: “No. It won’t help him.
“Nobody is undroppable, that is also clear. But we have a strong belief that he will help us win trophies.”
Thetest for Onana comes against Newcastle United tonight at St. James’ Park
There has been a bit of an edge between the two Uniteds since Ten Hag accused them last season of being time wasters and called them “annoying”.
But ahead of the game he defended his comments claiming he was actually praising them.
He said: “The time-wasting, I made that point, clear. The term ‘annoying’ was positive for them. It is a really difficult team to play, so I meant it in a very positive way.”