- Chelsea close to sealing five-year deal for forward
- Liverpool linked with Werner but have not made a bid
Jacob Steinberg – The Guardian
Timo Werner (here scoring against Cologne) joined RB Leipzig in 2016 and has scored 31 goals in all competitions this season. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea are close to signing Timo Werner after holding productive talks with the RB Leipzig forward, who is set to disappoint Liverpool by moving to Stamford Bridge for £53m.
Frank Lampard has been keen to reshape his attack since becoming Chelsea’s manager last summer and has pushed for the signing of Werner, whose £53m release clause expires on 15 June. Although the club still have to conclude negotiations with Leipzig, they have offered the striker a five-year deal.
Liverpool had targeted Werner, with Jürgen Klopp telling his board the Germany international would fit in well at Anfield. However, the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the Premier League leaders to reconsider their budget and they are yet to bid for the 24-year-old, allowing Chelsea to take control of the race to sign one of the most prolific strikers in Europe.
Chelsea, fourth in the league when it was suspended in March, were under a transfer embargo last summer and have funds available after not making signings in January.
Lampard’s attacking options are also set to be improved by the arrival of the Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech, who will become a Chelsea player on 1 July. Ziyech finalised a £36m move from Ajax in February and the Moroccan will be available next season.
Chelsea have also monitored Lyon’s Moussa Dembélé, Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz, and Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, but it is Werner who has caught Lampard’s eye. The German is comfortable through the middle but his ability to work from the left would allow him to combine with Tammy Abraham, Chelsea’s leading goalscorer.
Werner started at VfB Stuttgart and has impressed since joining Leipzig in 2016. He has 31 goals in all competitions this season and has helped Julian Nagelsmann’s side to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
Chelsea are also in the market for a left-back, with Lampard a huge admirer of Leicester’s Ben Chilwell. If Chilwell proves too expensive, Chelsea could turn their attention to Ajax’s Nicolás Tagliafico.