Following the confirmation of his arrival to Manchester United, Andre Onana is set to join several fabulous goalkeepers in the Premier League who are also revered for their ball-playing qualities.
The evolution of football has resulted in goalkeepers not only contributing to their team, in terms of their shot-stopping abilities but also with their ball-playing qualities.
Ball-playing goalkeepers are inherent in the traditional top-four clubs in the Premier League
Practically, the traditional top-four clubs in the Premier League have goalkeepers who can also hold their own when it comes to contributing to their team with their legs.
In that regards, Manchester City and Liverpool have Brazil’s Ederson Moraes and Allison Becker respectively.
Arsenal have Aaron Ramsdale, who has shown his impressive ball playing abilities on many occasions.
Chelsea have Spaniard, Kepa Arrizabalaga who is also excellent with his feet, initiating and orchestrating play from the back.
Manchester United became the latest side to have a goalkeeper who is excellent with his feet and has been lauded for that specific part of his game.
There have been many occasions when goalkeepers will act like deep line playmakers, distributing the ball from their own half.
When goalkeepers have shown their ball-playing prowess
Two notable examples in the Premier League last season included Allison Becker and Ederson Moraes.
On the 16th of October, 2022 during Manchester City’s 1-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield, Allison Becker launched the ball like a rocket from his own half with the intention of finding Mohammed Salah.
Salah controlled the ball in the opposition half and raced down the front of the Citizens box and afterwards nicely placing the ball beyond the reach of Ederson in goal for Manchester City.
The second notable example was just a week after the incident, on the 22nd of October, 2022.
Ederson Moraes sent a long ball to Erling Haaland who was in the opposition half and the devastating forward finished the job brilliantly.
Many other examples have been seen in recent years as the game continues to evolve.
Teams also employ the strategy of cooling of play and nicely carving teams out from the back by drawing the opposition forward before finding spaces between the loopholes created.
Erik Ten Hag is a proponent of passing from the back, one wouldn’t be quick to forget that he was an assistant of Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.
In Netherland, he deployed Onana in goal and the Cameroonian was effective, acting as a shot-stopper and a ball-playing goalkeeper.
Onana has been oiled in the ball-playing system right from tender days
Andre Onana joined the youth teams of Ajax from Barcelona’s La Masia, both teams who also share similar ideology due to the influence of the late Johan Cruyff.
Arsenal, with a manager in Mikel Arteta who learnt the ropes from Pep Guardiola also employs similar use of their goalie.
Brentford’s David Raya, Everton’s Jordan Pickford amongst other goalkeepers are also impressive with the use of their feets.
Additionally, reports indicate that modern day out-field players are often less pressured and frantic when they see that their goalkeepers are confident with the ball.
Manchester United have a jewel on their hands in Andre Onana and hopefully, he comes good in the English Premier League.