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Manchester United star Andre Onana reveals why he turned down Barcelona contract before exit

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Miscommunication led to exit from Barça, says André Onana

Miscommunication led to exit from Barça, says André Onana

In the latest episode of The Overlap, guest André Onana has revealed to host Gary Neville why he chose to leave Barcelona, among other things.

The Cameroon international was on the Barça books as a youth player from 2010 to 2015 before joining Ajax in the summer of 2015.

Onana explains to the former United captain that, while he was being told at Barça that he would get opportunities if he continued on the trajectory he was on, he also kept seeing new goalkeepers being brought to the senior squad before getting a senior call-up himself. Keen on first-team football, Onana chose to find pastures anew, ultimately settling on Ajax.

Onana also revealed in the interview that Premier League sides Arsenal and Chelsea were also interested in him at the time, but he wanted a project where he could get actual playing minutes.

Onana went on to make 214 appearances for Ajax (Photo by MAURICE VAN STEEN/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

“Because at the end of the day it was important for me to play. I was training with the second team, sometime with the first team.

“We were having negotiations to renew my contract, but what they were telling me was not what I found out in the end.

“When we were talking, they were like, ‘André, we count on you. We will make sure if you continue working how you’re working you have a chance.’

“Sometimes, you have to accept the reality that other people are also good.”

Onana on why he left Barcelona

The 28-year-old has had an eventful debut season at Old Trafford, to say the least. Despite conceding 58 goals in the Premier League, Onana managed to keep fourth-most clean sheets (9).

Onana is likely to be the starting goalkeeper for Man United as they gear up to face Man City in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Onana made the right call

Looking back, it’s safe to say Onana made the right call for his career by leaving Barcelona when he did.

It’s hard enough for youth players to break into the senior setup, but even more so if you’re a goalkeeper. Expected to play well into their 30s, goalies get comparatively fewer chances at senior level early in their career.

In choosing Ajax, one of the foremost exponents of promoting academy players into the senior setup and converting them into valuable assets, Onana crafted a path by taking a gamble on himself that does not always work and made it big. For that, he deserves immense credit.

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He may not have had the most promising debut seasons at United, but then, those have been few are far between in recent years for most players. He has shown, however, more than enough moments of brilliance, demonstrating why he was not only Ajax’s No. 1 at one point but also a key part of Simone Inzaghi’s Inter side that made the Champions League final last year.