News broke earlier this week that long-time Liverpool target Timo Werner was on his way to the Premier League this summer – but he’ll be wearing Chelsea blue!
The German forward has been linked with Jurgen Klopp’s men for the best part of a year, with his release clause seen as the perfect way for Liverpool to upgrade their forward line without breaking the bank. However, due to the current Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the world, the Anfield side have decided to take a step back from transfer negotiations this summer.
According to Bleacher Report, this meant that Werner was due to stay at RB Leipzig for another year in order to wait for his dream move – until Chelsea stepped in.
The Blues swept in with an offer to trigger the 24 year-old’s release clause and after the club agreed to pay him circa £200k p/w plus a conversation with Frank Lampard, Werner agreed to move to Stamford Bridge instead. With Hakim Ziyech already signed up for the new season too, Chelsea have a brand new frontline to compete for the Premier League title.
How will they all fit in though? Lampard has seemingly preferred a 4-2-3-1 formation this season, with Willian, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham featuring alongside one of Christian Pulisic, Ross Barkley, Callum Hudson-Odoi or Pedro.
Willian is expected to leave on a free transfer at the end of the current campaign, while Pedro is expected to move to Roma when his contract expires. Ross Barkley has been hit and miss, while Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi have both struggled for consistent performances under Lampard. Ziyech seems like a lock for his traditional right-wing position, as a direct replacement for Willian. Mount has performed relatively well as the #10 too, chipping in with 6 goals and 4 assists in the league.
Lampard put all his faith in Tammy Abraham at the start of the season, handing the academy graduate the No.9 shirt. The Camberwell-born front man has repaid that faith, with 13 goals in 25 appearances in the Premier League including goals away at Arsenal and a hat-trick at Wolves.
That begs the question, does Super Frank stick or twist?
Werner’s record in Germany is second only to Robert Lewandowski in the last two seasons, while Ziyech also poses a fantastic goal threat.
Chelsea do have a way of getting all three into the team. Timo Werner has spent plenty of time playing out on the left wing, cutting in onto his right foot and looking to find the far corner. By playing him on the left, Chelsea would have their three premier goal threats in the XI together.
Another option is to make the big call and drop someone. Lampard was quoted after the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth that “poor finishing” was a big reason that Chelsea are in a battle for fourth. Bringing in a shiny new centre-forward could be his way of rectifying that problem by replacing Abraham directly. This would allow Hudson-Odoi or Pulisic to continue competing for the winger role and have two goal scorers competing with each other with only one position available.
They could also balance the side out more by switching to a 4-3-3, something Lampard has done a few times.
Lots of Chelsea fans would rather Mount played as a central midfielder with the freedom to roam forward rather than starting in a more advanced area. It would also mean that fit-again Ruben Loftus-Cheek would have his best position available for him to compete for. With N’Golo Kante beginning to suffer from more and more injuries, while Jorginho is reportedly not the indispensable member of the squad he once was, there is more freedom for Chelsea to play around with.
Mateo Kovacic is surely a lock with many believing him to be Chelsea’s player of the year this season. With Kante, Jorginho, Barkley, Mount, Loftus-Cheek and newly promoted Billy Gilmour all competing for the final two spots in Chelsea’s midfield the likelihood of one of them being allowed to leave is high.
It may be that once we see who leaves, the ideas become clearer for all to see. One thing is for sure though, Chelsea’s bench will be filled with more quality than last year and their starting team will be looking to close the gap between Liverpool and the rest of the division.