Manchester United are set to lose Andre Onana for a month of the season after his return to Cameroon helped them qualify for January’s African Cup of Nations.
The goalkeeper, who joined the Red Devils from Inter Milan in the summer for a fee believed to be around £55m and has been a revelation in helping Manchester United to play out from defence more effectively, although he has conceded seven times in four games.
He was one of six new additions at Old Trafford, with all of Mason Mount, Rasmus Hojlund, Altay Bayindir, Sergi Reguilon and Sofyan Amrabat having arrived in Manchester.
Onana had been sidelined for Cameroon after falling out with boss Rigobert Song after the first game of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and hadn’t featured since being sent home in disgrace.
However, he has been reintegrated over the most recent international break and was a key part of helping Cameroon qualifying out of their Africa Cup of Nations group, making 7 saves in a 3-0 win over Burundi to help confirm their place in next January’s competition.
It means that he could miss as much as a month of Erik ten Hag’s campaign. Fortunately, the Premier League will include a two-week break in January, but Onana could still be out of action for as many as six games.
That is due to cup competitions, with two FA Cup ties and two Carabao Cup semi-final ties should United progress, as well as two Premier League games against Tottenham and Wolves.
Fortunately, the Red Devils signed Altay Bayindir on deadline day, and the Turkish shot-stopper will almost certainly be called upon to deputise for the African goalkeeper, but Onana’s departure will be a major loss to the Old Trafford side.