The summer transfer window isn’t open just yet, but Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is eager to get business done early, as reports have now emerged that Timo Werner is expected to join Chelsea this summer. With a £53 million release clause in his contract at RB Leipzig, it seemed a two-way tussle between us and Liverpool for his signature. But in recent days, it has been reported that Werner is on his way to Stamford Bridge and will join Hakim Ziyech next season, after Chelsea secured Ziyech’s signature from Ajax this past February.
Most Chelsea fans will welcome Werner to the club knowing that he is a proven goal scorer who has been at it for some years now. At 24 he has many years at the top and can hopefully bring his attacking instinct to Frank Lampard’s side come next season. Everyone watching Chelsea this season can see that we lack goals from wide areas. Willian and Pedro don’t contribute enough, and it looks like they are on the way out when their contracts expire this summer. Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi are both young, exciting prospects, but have had their fair share of injury troubles. Also, they both are wingers who aren’t conclusive enough with their goals this season. When Pulisic has played he has scored important goals, especially that superb hat-trick away at Burnley earlier on in the season. Hudson-Odoi has shown his flashes of brilliance, but not enough on the stat sheet.
Chelsea Adding More Attacking Threats
Already acquiring Ziyech is a sign of optimism by Lampard, as Ziyech can provide the cutting edge for others, as well as contributing goals from that right-wing position. 38 goals in 112 appearances suggest that the Moroccan was signed to help the striker’s succeed at the club. This is where Werner comes into the conversation.
One of the main reasons why Chelsea activated the German’s release clause is because he scores goals. Right now, he has 45 goal contributions in all competitions, including the assist for his side in their recent 1-1 draw with bottom side Paderborn in the Bundesliga. Blues fans will be delighted with such a statement signing, but the arrival of the German international is bad news for some members of the squad. The likes of Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud will be fearing the worst; however, Chelsea fans will be wondering how Lampard will utilise Werner and current Chelsea no.9, Tammy Abraham next season .
Abraham has been a nailed-on starter for Chelsea this term, after gaining valuable first-team experience on numerous loan spells in recent years. The 22-year-old has done incredibly well this season, finding the back of the net 15 times in 34 outings across all competitions.
It’s no secret Chelsea have been in the market for another striker as others have failed to apply pressure on the England forward this season. But, if any incoming signings were made this summer, it was assumed they would be a backup option. Having said that, the signing of Werner changes that assumption entirely. Ideally Werner can become the focal point of the Chelsea attack given his age. Whether Lampard adopts a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, the formation remains to be seen, and Werner offers too much to leave him out. So, to get both strikers in, the German could start from the left. At RB Leipzig he has done this for the majority of the season, where Yussuf Poulsen figures as the target man in Julian Nagelsmann’s system.
Mirroring A Former Partnership?
Werner isn’t a natural striker; he is a converted winger. In today’s game, most wingers are now inside forwards who score the same amount of goals as a lone striker. Similar to Liverpool’s system with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, Werner from the left would work perfectly in a very attack-minded Lampard system.
In the past, Chelsea has had a number of successful strike partnerships. One stands out more than any during a period when Chelsea was successful in winning many trophies in the process.
If Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka were in the same starting XI, there was a higher chance that Chelsea would win the match with one of the two scoring. They had a great partnership at Stamford Bridge, but they weren’t playing in a classic two-man striker partnership. Anelka was used in a deeper role, often from a wider position. This allowed Drogba to be more of a lone target man and he became one of the best strikers that Chelsea and the Premier League have ever seen.
Anelka had exceptional pace and was far more effective in that ‘second wide striker’ role under previous managers. Even Chelsea boss Frank Lampard witnessed this procedure first hand noticing how successful it can be after playing in this team. Now manager, it seems the Chelsea legend is looking to mirror this with his new strike partnership of Tammy Abraham and incoming Timo Werner.
In the Premier League, Chelsea will face many teams who will play a deep low block which makes teams very hard to break down. With Werner and his style of play, he will struggle against this kind of opposition as he won’t be able to fully utilise his pace. His best trait is most suited in either a counter-attacking system or in a free-flowing style of football – which Lampard has been implementing this season.
At times Werner will play as the lone striker over Abraham to try and change it up a little in games that are stretched. But I think we will often see the German striker being used in a 4-3-3 formation alongside Abraham, playing off him as a second striker or cutting in off the left-wing position.
Werner’s pace, energy and clinical finishing is second to none, and it is very similar to Anelka. Abraham has all the attributes to lead the line at Chelsea as the strong target man that Drogba once was for many years. Looking ahead to next season, Chelsea has a lot of options and Lampard can mix it up a bit in the attacking third. But, with the imminent signing of Timo Werner, I can see both him and Abraham becoming a strong partnership that will emulate the former strike force of Anelka and Drogba. If they can get anywhere near these two, then Chelsea will be a strong force for next season, and future campaigns to come.