PROFILE | Jonas Omlin: A high-quality goalkeeper, even if stats can suggest otherwise
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Born in central Switzerland in the small town of Sarnen, Jonas Omlin’s rise has been slow but steady. After coming through the Swiss leagues with the likes of Luzern and SC Kriens, he first played on a bigger stage with FC Basel. After a win in the domestic cup in 2019 and an impressive run to the Europa League quarter-finals the following season, he joined Montpellier in the summer of 2020, and shortly thereafter became a regular call-up for his country.
An excellent shot stopper, Omlin has kept La Paillade afloat in many a match over the intervening two-and-a-half seasons, even if injuries and suspensions have sometimes hampered his place in the eleven. As Montpellier, across each of the three managers under whom Omlin has worked, have preferred to play with a certain abandon, his record is never likely to approach that of a PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma or Pau López of Marseille.
This tactical approach, when coupled with long-term injuries to the likes of defenders Pedro Mendes, Théo Saint-Luce and Maxime Èsteve, and a loss of form for Mamadou Sakho, has hardly made for a raft of clean sheets, but the fact that Montpellier came within a hairsbreadth of qualifying for Europe is as much down to Omlin as it is to the far more fêted exploits of former attackers Andy Delort and Gaëtan Laborde.
That said, taking Omlin’s play as a whole, he will remind long-time observers of Ligue 1 of a player like Lyon’s Anthony Lopes. Both are top-drawer shot-stoppers — see Omlin’s fine penalty save against Kylian Mbappé earlier this season — but can be rash in their decision-making, leading to sanctions and injury to a perhaps frustrating degree.
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Still, though, given Montpellier’s current struggles, one has to wonder, if the promising Dimitry Bertaud can recover from his knee injury, whether Omlin might be seen as a saleable asset come this summer, his contract set to expire in 2024. His departure would be a loss for Ligue 1, but would also be a mark of his quality — as he showed with Basel, he’s unquestionably a European-level goalkeeper, even if his statistics may not necessarily say as much.