You’d have to go back to the summer of 2020, for the last time United signed a player from Africa, that time it was Amad Diallo. The Ivorian joined the club from Atalanta and looks to have a huge future at Old Trafford.

Prior to Amad, it was fan favourite Odion Ighalo who joined the club for a stop-gap loan. Eric Bailly is another name, as is Quinton Fortune. Eric Djemba-Djemba is another, but he did not enjoy the success he hoped for.

The midfielder brought in back in 2003, represents the only previous Cameroonian to represent United. He cost £3.5 million from Nantes. Andre Onana is set to become the second Cameroonian to adorn the famous United kit and take his first step on the hallowed Old Trafford turf.

With a £43 million plus add-ons deal agreed between the clubs according to Alfredo Pedulla, Andre Onana could join the United squad as they travel to the United States according to The Athletic.

READ: Confirmed Manchester United transfers in, out, loans, releases, youth for 2023/24

Manchester United v AC Milan
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Eric Djemba-Djemba struggles

Djemba-Djemba was a Sir Alex Ferguson gamble who never seemed good enough for the demands that the United fans place on their footballers, but Onana has all the right tools to become the next United goalkeeping legend.

He costs a lot more and is more accomplished, and importantly he is proven. Djemba-Djemba was only 23 at the time, and just wasn’t ready for the big stage. Onana is a player who has competed in Champions League finals and semi-finals and won titles with Ajax.

The midfielder lasted only 18 months at Old Trafford before being sold to Aston Villa in January 2005. He faded from view and never lived up to his potential.

United viewed him as a potential successor to Roy Keane, and this didn’t work out at all, especially when the Irishman was already at the club. Quoted by The Mirror, he explained: “It was a lot of pressure – we’re talking about Roy Keane – the man, the captain, he was hard. It was difficult for me. I did my best and I played some good games, but it was hard for me.”

Onana won’t have the same issues, because the player he is replacing, David de Gea, has already left the club. Four years older and wiser than Djemba-Djemba, the goalkeeper is also a leader, who won’t buckle under the pressure.

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The Erik ten Hag factor

Despite the souring of the relationship towards the end of the pair’s time in Amsterdam according to the Daily Mail, the pair are reported to still have a great working relationship.

Onana is the archetypal goalkeeper that Ten Hag wants, with his superb passing, shown by his 98% pass completion rate of medium-range passes according to FBREF, as well as his authority in the box making him a superb goalkeeper.

After spending four years together at Ajax, there is no better manager better prepared to get the best out of the Cameroonian. Despite the struggles of the last Cameroonian at Old Trafford, Onana is much more adept to thrive at Manchester.

Onana’s personality sets him apart

One striking aspect of Onana’s game, that United fans may not be aware of, is his confidence. The Cameroonian is happy to receive the ball under pressure and even play 40-yard passes down the middle of the pitch to start attacks in European Cup finals.

He seemingly has confidence in his abilities which is exactly what United need from their goalkeeper. With a command of his area similar to that of Liverpool’s Alisson, Onana has confidence not just on the ball but in the six-yard box when claiming crosses in a crowded penalty area.

The 27-year-old will also benefit from finding former teammates in the United squad, with Lisandro Martinez, Donny Van de Beek, and Antony formerly of Ajax. With defenders like Shaw, Dalot, and Martinez who are capable of keeping the ball under pressure, Onana will have no problems trusting his defence.

This seems like a signing that is destined to be a success and one that United have needed to make for years.

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