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Rio Ferdinand on Andre Onana, Kobbie Mainoo & what Man Utd fans can expect this season



Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester United have added enough quality this summer to force themselves back into a title race.

Erik ten Hag called for new signings early in the summer and was quickly handed both Mason Mount and Andre Onana, while Rasmus Hojlund has completed a £72m move to Old Trafford to take up a position at the top of United’s attack.

Seeing those signings come off so early really made an impression on Ferdinand.

“We haven’t created a transfer saga,” TNT Sports pundit Ferdinand told 90min. “I’ve been really pleased with the delivery of the players. The players that they’ve wanted, they’ve gone out and got immediately, haven’t dragged on for too long.

“It seems like the targets the manager has wanted, the club has executed on those. It’s all positive.”

Of Man Utd‘s new faces, perhaps none will have a more significant impact than Onana. The goalkeeper, a £47.2m signing from Inter, has joined to replace David de Gea, whose 12-year stay at Old Trafford came to an end this summer.

Ten Hag was keen to find a goalkeeper who is more comfortable with the ball at his feet and has opted for a reunion with Onana, who rose to prominence as part of his famous Ajax side, and Ferdinand believes he could be the key to Ten Hag’s new system.

“I think he’ll make a huge difference,” the former centre-back explained. “I think he’s got to go and prove he can be a great replacement for David de Gea, but in terms of the style, the way the manager wants to play football, I think he’s going to be huge for that because one of the best assets in his game is his feet and his playing ability.

“He’s so connected to the outfield players. He’s going to be great for a new style of football.”

However, it’s not just new signings who have made an impression this summer. Teenage midfielder Kobbie Mainoo made the most of his early return to pre-season to earn some early minutes in friendlies against Leeds United and Lyon, standing out from the crowd with each impressive performance.

Ten Hag kept the 18-year-old with his senior squad despite sending a group of academy players for a friendly against Wrexham, instead opting to start Mainoo against Real Madrid.

It’s a decision which, while proving Ten Hag’s faith in the teenager, ultimately ended in disaster as Mainoo picked up an injury which will delay his start to the 2023/24 campaign. Nevertheless, Ferdinand is waiting eagerly for his return.

“I don’t think he’s one of the young players they’re going to let out on loan,” he continued. “I think his introduction to the first-team squad in training, then in games, has been so impressive that I think the club will refuse to let him go and I think he’ll gain more from being around the squad, whether it’s just training or being involved in matchdays. I’m really excited about him.”


With all that in mind, Ferdinand expects further improvements from Man Utd across what could be an enthralling campaign.

“I think we’ll finish second,” he predicts. “I think it won’t be easy.

“I think we’ll improve again on consistency. I think the style of play will evolve even more. I think individuals improve. I’m expecting a better season from [Jadon] Sancho, consistency throughout from [Marcus] Rashford, more goals, a number nine with goals hopefully.

“And you’ve got behind that the Casemiro’s of this world, Bruno Fernandes with more experience and the responsibility of being the captain of the team. A new goalkeeper with different traits to the previous one. I’m excited for Man Utd. As a fan, you sit with your fingers crossed saying ‘please don’t go wrong’.”

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