Man Utd new boy Andre Onana was snubbed by Barcelona, became Ajax No1 and funded an electric grid for mother’s hometown

MAN UTD made signing a goalkeeper a priority – and the new man between the sticks at Old Trafford will be Andre Onana.

The Red Devils splashed £47million on the Cameroon shotstopper who will replace David De Gea between the sticks.

Man Utd have signed Andre Onana for £47million

Instagram / @foundation_andreonanaCharitable Onana has a foundation and provided electricity for his mum’s village in Cameroon[/caption]

Kids from unprivileged backgrounds are also supported by Onana’s charity

The Cameroon international was a revelation in the club’s Champions League run to the semi finals in 2019.

It’s a competition he thrives in, after helping Inter Milan reach last season’s final.

The 27-year-old has signed a five-year deal reportedly worth around £6.2million a year.

And the goalie has made sure he’s shared the wealth accrued from his fame with his homeland.

Back on 2020, it was reported that Onana uses part of his salary to fund an electric grid that provides electricity for a small African town.

The generous footballer also has a foundation that provides help for children who haven’t had the easiest of lives.

He began his youth career at Barcelona, but annoyed the Catalan giants when he snubbed an offer of a contract to join Ajax at 18.

The decision was clearly the correct one, though, as Onana has gone on to become one of Europe’s best keepers.


Born in Cameroon, it wasn’t Onana’s intention to support his mother’s hometown Mengueme.

But, after signing a £20,000-per-week contract in 2019 when he starred for Ajax, he decided he had to give something back.

Onana put his money to good use, funding a power grid that provides electricity for the Essoessam population.

He took the people of Menguene out of darkness and curbed their reliance on kerosene lamps.

Instagram / @andreonana.24When Onana earned £20k-per-week he funded a power grid in Menguene[/caption]

Instagram / @andreonana.24The Andre Onana Foundation was set-up in 2016 to help young African children[/caption]

And that’s not his only charitable contribution.

In 2016, Onana set up his foundation to help young African children, providing them means to a better education, giving them access to medical care, as well as help to those affected by terrorist attacks.

“I know first-hand what many children in my country are suffering,” he revealed.

“Inside me I feel that I must help them to have a better future.”


Onana’s success is partly down to former Barcelona star Samuel Eto’o.

A prodigy of the legendary striker’s academy in the Cameroon, he linked up with the La Masia Academy at 14.

“I’m very thankful for what he did for me coming from his foundation,” Onana told OmaSportsTV.

But it didn’t quite work out for Onana in Catalonia.

In 2014, Barcelona were hit by a FIFA ban for breaking the rules of signing foreign youngsters.

That meant Barça youngsters had their development halted because they couldn’t play any competitive games for 18-months.

AP:Associated PressLegendary Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o’s Academy discovered Onana[/caption]

Getty Images – GettyHowever, Onana failed to get a break at Barcelona[/caption]

When he returned, playing for Barcelona against Ajax in an Under-19 UEFA Youth League game, he won man-of-the-match which alerted Ajax’s coaching staff.


At 18, Onana grew frustrated with his chances at the Camp Nou.

He was adamant he belonged in Barcelona’s B team, and saw a path to the first team blocked with the arrivals of Claudio Bravo and Marc Andre ter Stegen that summer.

There was only one thing to do.

Barcelona offered him a contract, but Ajax’s sales pitch was more attractive. He moved to Amsterdam to develop his game further, much to the annoyance of Spanish legend Andoni Zubizaretta.

And when first-team keeper Jasper Cillessen moved in 2016, ironically to Barcelona, manager Peter Bosz decided 20-year-old Onana was going to be his NO1.


Although he’s now achieved a dream move to the Premier League, Onana’s chances of progressing to a bigger club could’ve happened sooner.

Getty Images – GettyAfter moving to Ajax at 18 Onana established himself as Ajax’s NO1 two years later[/caption]

Instagram / @andreonana.24Onana was once told that the colour of his skin would be a problem for a big club[/caption]

After a breakthrough season in 2016-17, helping Ajax reach the Europa League final, a top unknown club began negotiations with him.

However, the shot-stopper revealed he was told that the colour of his skin would be a problem for fans and the move was quashed.

“It is not easy for a black goalkeeper to reach the top,” Onana told Dutch outlet Het Parool, with the quotes also carried by Marca.

“They decided not to sign me because a black goalkeeper would be difficult for their followers.

“It wasn’t because they didn’t think I was good enough. I consider it a compliment.”

That club’s loss could certainly be Chelsea’s gain.

Redemption at Inter

In 2021, Onana’s career was left in tatters after he was banned from playing for 12 months after testing positive for the banned substance, Furosemide.

He claimed it was his wife’s medicine and that he took it by mistake, with the support of Ajax appealed the decision, and his ban was reduced to nine months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

After seven and a half years in Amsterdam, Onana moved to Inter Milan to reboot his career.

In January 2023, he won the Supercoppa Italiana against rivals AC Milan and also went on to win the Coppa Italia – defeating Fiorentina in the final.

The African was also instrumental in his side’s run to the Champions League final, where they were narrowly edged out by Man City.

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