Chelsea’s new wonder kid Timo Werner: Who the hell are you? Volume 13

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - NOVEMBER 29: Timo Werner of Leipzig runs with the ball during the UEFA Europa League Group B match between RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig at on November 29, 2018 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - NOVEMBER 29: Timo Werner of Leipzig runs with the ball during the UEFA Europa League Group B match between RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig at on November 29, 2018 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images) /

Chelsea has snatched Timo Werner away from Liverpool but who is the young German striker and what does he offer the Blues?

It was not long ago that it seemed guaranteed Timo Werner was going to Liverpool. Then out of nowhere, Chelsea took advantage of the hesitation. The Blues swooped in and, like many players before him, snatched Werner away from the jaws of a rival.

But who is this German striker from some Red Bull team? Why should fans be excited about him coming to Chelsea? Who the hell is he?


Werner’s career began with VfB Stuttgart back when they were one of the Bundesliga’s better sides. He made his debut in the 2013/2014 season and quickly made his way into the manager’s plans and starting XI at just 17. There, he played primarily on the wing and occasionally as a striker. When Stuttgart was relegated in 2016, the newly promoted and cash rich RB Leipzig snapped him up for their project.

Leipzig, like basically every other Red Bull team, builds a team of young, technically gifted players and puts them into a highly aggressive, high pressing 4-4-2. This meant the winger Werner became the striker and/or shadow striker relatively quickly. And just as quickly in that 2016/2017 season, he found his scoring boots. The most he ever scored in a season for Stuttgart was seven. His first season at Leipzig? A whopping 21.

Since then, he has been a major cog in the Leipzig machine if not the most important one. His lowest scoring season at the club will go down at 19 goals. His least number of assists will be seven in his first season.

And, to add to all of that, Julian Nagelsmann has introduced Leipzig to other formations. Now Werner has shown he is just as capable playing as a winger again while maintaining his production.

But is he any good?

Werner is, without a doubt, the player Germany will rely on for the next 10 plus years. His adaptability shown under Nagelsmann to play wide and central but still be a deadly scorer and unselfish creator are key to plugging him into almost any team or shape. That is likely a major reason as to why Chelsea went after him when they saw Liverpool hesitate. Werner can supplement and bolster the attacking options the club has at its disposal.

Werner does have a reputation for merely being a player that breaks in behind or snaps onto balls knocked on by a target man. While that may have been true in his initial years at Leipzig, now it is only a small part of his game. What Werner truly excels at is understanding space. He has a seemingly supernatural ability to understand when he needs to sit on the shoulder of a defender and when he needs to drop deep and start finding pockets of space.

Furthermore, he is not just a goal scorer. While he is certainly unafraid to put the ball in the back of the net, he rarely will snub a teammate if he sees they have a better opportunity. He does this on and off the ball which will be an immense help to Chelsea.

Off the ball, he has very much given into the Red Bull pressing system. He will aggressively chase down defenders on the ball and he is unafraid to come back into his own team’s half to continue his pursuit. He is seemingly everywhere at the same time when his team has the ball and when they do not.

The plan is likely to play him on the left wing alongside Tammy Abraham and let the two develop a partnership with one another. Werner does work best with a target man striker partner to divert some attention away and Abraham can excel at that. Also, if need be, Werner can simply play striker himself if the opposition calls for someone more surgical than Abraham.

Long story short is that Chelsea has signed a player that is nearly world class if not so already. Werner is a goal scorer, but a rare unselfish one that will focus more on the team scoring than just himself (think Eden Hazard but a little more willing to take it on himself). His versatility to play as a striker and winger will allow him to slot in every formation. In summary, Chelsea knocked this one out of the park.

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But seriously, what does this mean about Jadon Sancho?

Listen, everyone wants Jadon Sancho in Blue. But he is incredibly expensive and Chelsea, even with a war chest, only has so much to go around. When Hakim Ziyech joined, many asked what it meant about Jadon Sancho. While at the time that particular signing did not mean much, this one probably does.

Chelsea has their eye set on a few marquee signings and Werner is surely one of them. Being a striker ticks one major box for the Blues. Being able to play as a winger ticks another one. Werner brings the winger corps up to himself, Callum Hudson-Odoi (maybe), Christian Pulisic, Ziyech (who can play centrally), and Mason Mount (same as Ziyech). Adding Sancho into that number would be great, but it is also becoming more and more unnecessary.

While signing Werner is great, it also sticks Chelsea into an awkward middle ground. The Blues have a fantastic starting XI, but it is very hard to convince a player to come and try to fight their way into it. On the same coin, it is also hard to bring in a world class player and drop one of the very good players already in the XI. Basically, it is a Real Madrid and Barcelona level problem.

So Sancho is very unlikely this summer now. Kai Havertz likely is as well, though his ability to play in midfield could tip that one a little more towards the realms of possibility. But overall it will simply come down to numbers and cash. Chelsea is good on numbers and even with Werner being cheap, the cash is dwindling.

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What do you think of Timo Werner signing with Chelsea? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter!