Manchester United are trying to negotiate with Cameroon football authorities to prevent goalkeeper Andre Onana from participating in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament according to manager Erik ten Hag.
Onana is concerned about losing his starting position at the club to Altay Baydindir if he misses up to six games due to international duty according to The Sun.
However, per competition rules, he would face a ban from playing for his club if he declines the national team call-up.
Manager Erik ten Hag acknowledged that Onana is obligated to respond to the call-up but indicated that discussions are ongoing.
“When they call him, he has to go. But we are in talks,” he said.
Onana had previously retired from international football after a fallout with Cameroon coach Rigobert Song, but they have since reconciled, and he is now willing to represent his country.
The AFCON tournament takes place from January 13 to February 11, and Onana fears that if United’s backup goalkeeper Altay Bayindir performs well during his absence, he might not regain his starting spot.
If Cameroon were to call him up and he declined, they would need to grant special permission for him to play for United during the tournament.
Onana has been under pressure due to recent high-profile blunders, including conceding three goals in the Champions League match against Galatasaray.
United currently sit at the bottom of Group A in the Champions League. They must defeat Bayern Munich in their final group match and hope for a draw between Galatasaray and Copenhagen to advance to the knockout stages.
Bayindir meanwhile, hopes to break into the team regardless of whether Onana goes to AFCON or not as revealed by his agent.
In an interview published in the Milliyet newspaper Seyrek said, “I did all the talks myself in the Manchester United transfer. I told them that we are not coming as a second choice goalkeeper.
“Onana was not at the club back then. At that time there was De Gea. They couldn’t get along with De Gea. We said we are coming to play.
“I think he [Bayindir] deserves to play right now too and I would say most people and the media would agree. My personal opinion is that Altay should be in goal now.
“We are determined to break into the team on merit and not because Onana is going to AFCON. We are taking things one week at a time.“