Timo Werner, the 23-year-old German striker who currently plays for table-toppers RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga, was initially linked to Chelsea when rumours of our transfer ban being overturned first surfaced. Since then, however, the steam has cooled off on this transfer, with the Red Bull-owned entity unwilling to part with their highly-rated asset in the middle of a title race, as he forms an integral part of their playing style. His stats this season are, quite literally, FIFA-esque. He has netted 25 goals this season while setting up 10 more. 35 goal contributions and we’re still in January. He’s averaging a goal or assist every 60 minutes, which is simply outrageous in one of the top leagues of the world. His end product is fantastic, which is very important in the modern game, as proved by teams like Liverpool and City. If he’s coupled with a winger who also has end product (let’s be optimistic and say Sancho), the numbers that he would put up would be nothing short of obscene.
This is not his first prolific season either. Ever since he joined Leipzig in 2016, he has shown gradual improvement, and scored 86 goals in 140 appearances, and further assisted 37 more. He holds the record for the youngest player to make 150 Bundesliga appearances. The German is very highly rated in his home country and is nicknamed “the German Bullet”, owing to his style of play.
Timo Werner is a pacy, prolific striker, who is not very physical, which is one of his major criticisms. These critics believe that he won’t be able to cut it in the Premier League, which is arguably the most physical among the top 5 leagues. His hold up play is no match for Tammy Abraham or Moussa Dembele (the other striker we’re linked within this window). However, he is a good dribbler of the ball. His biggest strength is the ability to always be at the right place at the right time. He is always in space, and through on goal. Once he’s through on goal, this lethal finisher very rarely misses. A similar type of player would be Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, who is not necessarily strong but utilizes his blistering pace and deadly accuracy to score loads of goals.
Werner plays in the centre forward position, and usually alongside another striker (Yussuf Poulsen). However, he has also played on the wing several times this season, including the last game against Union Berlin, where he netted a brace. This could be a huge advantage for Chelsea, as Tammy and Werner starting together would definitely increase our goal threat. Timo Werner also enables Chelsea to have a “Plan B”, in case of Tammy upfront as the sole striker does not work. Dembele, being a similar player to Tammy, might not make a massive impact.
Given all his attributes, Werner would, in my opinion, find it difficult to lead the line by himself, especially with the lack of creativity in our team at the moment. However, with the passage of time, he could become an essential part of Frank Lampard’s Chelsea as he fits the high-pressure, direct and counter-attacking philosophy.
The other striker which we are linked with currently, Moussa Dembele of Lyon, has scored 15 goals and provided 5 assists this season. Werner, on paper, has completely blown him out of the water by involving himself in 15 more goal contributions than the French striker. However, Dembele’s strength and hold up play makes him a good asset. Interestingly, these two strikers faced off in the Champions League this season, with their respective clubs Leipzig and Lyon getting drawn into the same group, where Werner scored a penalty in their 2-2 draw.
It is no secret that Timo Werner is on his way out of Leipzig, and is a question of when rather than if. His manager Julian Naggelsman has himself stated that Werner’s ambitions are greater than those of Leipzig’s, and he won’t stop the striker if he asks to leave. The striker’s reported release clause of 30 million euros has now risen to about 50 million euros, various sources claim. His other potential suitors include our opponents in the UCL round of 16, Bayern Munich and league leaders Liverpool. However, both these teams are not willing to guarantee regular playing time, as they have the red-hot Lewandowski and Firmino respectively. Chelsea, on the other hand, have been overly reliant on Tammy to get the goals for the team, with no one else in the team reaching double digits this season. Werner could provide some healthy competition for the young Englishman and could play together with him too. With these two young guns, our strike force would be set for the next decade. Thus, elucidating the title of this article, I would like to say that even if we do have to wait till the summer to get him, Timo Werner will definitely be worth the wait. Even in financial terms, Leipzig are likely to accept a decent bid in order to fulfill the striker’s wish of plying his trade elsewhere. This figure would be significantly less than what Lyon are demanding for Dembele, and hence frees up funds to invest in other areas. Werner also possesses good resale value in case the transfer does not work out, and a host of German clubs would be willing to take him back to Deutschland. This transfer, in my opinion, is a no-brainer, and our board should pursue him.