Unbeatable Yann, imperious Inter: Sommer signing as Onana replacement has proved to be a masterstroke

The defensive record of Inter has played a major part in their 2023/24 Serie A title charge, with goalkeeper Yann Sommer the perfect replacement for Andre Onana last summer.


When Manchester United wrestled Andre Onana away from Inter shortly after the goalkeeper had played a major part in them reaching the 2023 Champions League final, few would have expected replacement Yann Sommer to have an even more influential impact on the Nerazzurri than the outgoing Onana.

Even allowing for the high-profile mistakes the Cameroonian made in his early Premier League days, his ability to start attacks through quick and strategic distribution with his feet were fundamental to the evolution of Inter under Inzaghi, but the 35-year-old has continued that progression.

Inter have conceded the fewest goals in Serie A this term, allowing the Switzerland international to move within touching distance of the all-time clean sheet record for a single season. That record is currently 21, and Sommer has 18 recorded after Matchday 31.

Sommer‘s only fears must be that coach Simone Inzaghi starts handing second-choice goalkeeper Emil Audero minutes as the season closes or his defence down tools after securing the Scudetto.

Inter’s Yann Sommer in action. (@Inter)

Was Sommer the signing of the 2023/24 season?

Sommer’s journey to the Nerazzurri arguably starts with Germany’s early exit from the 2022 World Cup, as a post-tournament skiing accident left Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer with a broken leg and the Bavarian’s signing him from Borussia Monchengladbach.

While the veteran shot stopper saw the opportunity to lift the Bundesliga title, it also allowed him to remind the world that he was still operating at an elite level, and possessed the skill set to replace the outgoing Onana. Although convincing Bayern to part with an exceptional second choice – for just €7m – took until early August.

However, Sommer clearly saw the opportunity to join a club able to offer the chance of even more silverware and regular playing time, and fit seamlessly into the hole left by the Africans exit. In addition, also bringing with him better handling and even more big-game experience.

Yann Sommer keeps goal. (@Inter)

How long will Sommer stay at Inter?

Ahead of Onana departing, Inter stalwart Samir Handanovic had hung up his gloves after more than a decade of exceptional service, and the Slovenian was only two months short of his 39th birthday. That should provide Sommer and Nerazzurri followers some reassurance that they can keep the ex-Bayern man at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza until he reaches a similar age.

However, Handanovic had retired from international football eight years before calling time at club level, whereas Sommer is still first-choice for Switzerland and made his professional debut with FC Basel at 16 years old. At some point, the burden of a career stretching across three decades will start to weigh more heavily.

Inter probably relied on Handanovic for one season too many and were let down spectacularly by a subpar replacement in Ionut Radu, who ultimately handed the 2021/22 Serie A title to AC Milan. Audero has performed admirably, but showed with Sampdoria that he is not the long-term heir to Sommer.

If 22-year-old Filip Stankovic can continue his progression next season with another loan, but in the top-flight rather than with the Blucerchiati in Serie B, he might mature at just the right time to take over from the former Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper.


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