Fulham need a reliable goalkeeper - Borussia M'Gladbach star Yann Sommer fits the bill
After missing out on a free transfer to sign Lazio outcast Thomas Strakosha who headed to neighbours Brentford instead and with a deal for Arsenal’s nr2 Bernd Leno still stalling, the Cottagers are still on the lookout for a reliable Premier League goalkeeper. And who better than Bundesliga top performer Yann Sommer whose proposed move to OGC Nice and a reunion with former boss Lucien Favre have seemingly collapsed?
Borussia Monchengladbach’s Player of the Year in 2021 is as reliable a goalkeeper as they come. If Switzerland are heading to the World Cup at the expense of Italy, it’s fair to say that Sommer played a massive part in it, having denied Italy’s Jorginho the winning goal from 12 yards out in the qualifiers. Those who claim that he’s the MOST underrated keeper in the world have a point. And it’s easy to say why: Sommer is only 1m83 tall, that’s about 6 ft. But his jumping ability, reading of the game, anticipation skills and agility are second to none.
And today he showcased his precise passing skills too when his long ball forward nearly set up Jonas Hoffmann’s opener only for the ex-Dortmund flop to fluff his lines in front of Real Sociedad keeper Alejandro Remiro. But that moment of quick thinking epitomised what Sommer is all about. He is a good goalkeeper and a skilful footballer. And just when he neutralises incoming shots because of his world-class anticipation skills in his locker, thanks to his excellent footwork he can also launch quick counter-attacks. If Daniel Farke’s side headed to dressing room leading 1-0 against David Silva’s Real Socieded they had to thank him, like on so many occasions since replacing Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in 2014.
In the early stages of the game he twice denied Alexander Isak an obvious goal. First, he palmed a venomous effort away, then he sprinted off his line to narrow the angle and keep a goal-bound chip out. In the second-half he superbly outstretched his right foot, denying Takefusa Kubo, through on goal, a clear goalscoring opportunity and potentially the winner. Sommer may already be 33-years-old but with his age come a couple of hidden advantages such as experience, maturity and a pretty low price tag for Fulham to pay, believed to be around £4-5 million.
And although Sommer wasn’t keen on moving to Ligue 1, the Premier League has a different pull. Fulham have to find an upgrade on Jan Rodak before the season gets underway if they want to steer clear from relegation. And signing a shot-stopper who is as good as or even better than Alphonse Areola, the West Londoners’ standout player two years ago in a doomed top-flight campaign, like the seasoned yet blossoming Swiss is just what they need. And don’t be fooled by the lack of interest from in his services from top clubs or his diminutive size.
Sure, if he was taller he may have had a different sort of career. But French World Cup winner Fabien Barthez and Mexican legend Jorge Campos were even shorter than the former Basel goalkeeper yet had wonderful careers. And one thing is certain: if Manuel Neuer plied his trade abroad, the eclipsed Yann Sommer would steal all the headlines on German soil. He’s really that good. And where would he be today if he was 1m96?