Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea risk creating another disaster similar to the Mohamed Salah case if they ship Timo Werner out of town in the summer. Rumors of Timo Werner’s possible departure are swirling. Let’s make it perfectly clear, this move will be a regrettable decision by Chelsea and could be another in a long list of gaffes by the club giving up on immense talents before they have either fully been given an opportunity to shine or have fully settled in. A decision by Tuchel and Chelsea to ship out Werner after the season will be yet another transfer disaster waiting to happen.
Timo Werner has not settled in quite as has been hoped in this his first season at Chelsea. That is clear to any and all observers. So the knee-jerk reaction by Chelsea and its 18-month managers in the past in such situations has been to jettison young players previously adjudged to be possible mega talents and then have to eat crow when they turn the football world upside down with their success. In Werner’s case, there is no doubt. He has proven that he is a top talent and scorer in the Bundesliga while he has yet to get fully untracked at Chelsea thus far.
So now the rumor mill is ablaze indicating that Tuchel may want to offload the German flash possibly in a deal to bring in Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund. Haaland is a massive young talent, of that there is little doubt. If Chelsea can secure his services they should be all means do so. But it should not come at the expense of Werner or any other solid young player. That would be a mistake and the club will regret making that decision sooner rather than later.
Chelsea has been the victim of its own impatience in the past. That includes the magnificent Mohamed Salah, the inimitable Kevin De Bruyne, and the prolific scorer Romelu Lukaku. None of these brilliant world-class stars were given any kind of real opportunity to shine at Chelsea. They had to go elsewhere due to poor managerial decisions, ironically by good managers. Tuchel is also a good manager but that classification obviously does not preclude the same from making dismal personnel decisions after a limited look at a young player or by failing to take into account extenuating circumstances in any individual player’s situation.
This latter reason would likely be the reason why Tuchel advocates for or sanctions sending Werner out. There are clear extenuating circumstances for the young German. Similar to Kai Havertz whom some advocated trashing earlier in the season, Werner also has had many of the same challenges that were impacting Havertz’s game. A previous article about Havertz delved into his situation in detail. Werner has also had to adjust to a new country, new home, new culture, food, new language, driving on a different side of the road, and all the other difficulties that accompany settling in a completely new and challenging environment. And, all the while, he’s also experienced immense pressure to succeed immediately and massively from the jump. And that is the most difficult of pressures in football, scoring goals.
In addition, he like others has had to undergo this massive transition during the most challenging and devastating period in world history since the Second World War. The Covid-19 pandemic has turned ordinary life completely upside down and changed the way we live our lives in unimaginable ways subsequent to its emergence one year ago. Yet, even so, pundits and possibly Chelsea’s senior management may be espousing jettisoning this super talent because he has not quite met expectations to-date. Yet, looking briefly at what he has done is instructive.
Werner has scored 10 goals with 10 assists in 39 appearances to-date for Chelsea. And let’s qualify those appearances. Many have been from the bench and even more at a position which is not the one he should be playing, center-forward. Too often Werner has been misplaced on a wing by both Frank Lampard and Tuchel as they try to manage a situation in which for at least a good percentage of the time they have had three very competent and capable strikers. It may not be an easy decision, but as we say in the states, “that’s why they get paid the big bucks”. In other words, deal with it. Figure out how best to utilize the talents at your disposal and Werner is certainly one of those top talents.
In addition to his 20 goal involvements, Werner’s pace and the threat that it carries has in itself been an asset to Chelsea. The problem has not just been that Werner has been misfiring on a number of chances, but coincidentally he has not been receiving the service he requires from his teammates. There is no Cesc Fabregas to launch a masterful pass over the top to send him in for an easy goal. (Though at times, Mateo Kovacic can certainly work some magic, as well.) In addition, Werner’s angles playing on the left side are not optimum for his talents. He needs to be more centrally positioned with access to more of the net than he has had on numerous occasions this season.
In addition, I continue to take issue with Tuchel’s use of anyone else to take penalties when Werner is on the pitch, including Jorginho. This a clear miscue by Tuchel every time it eventuates. Period. It not only demonstrates his lack of faith in Werner’s scoring ability and further dents his confidence level by denying him the opportunity to score easy some goals and get his confidence back to a high level. Tuchel’s refusal to allow a top scorer like Werner to help shake off his goal-scoring doldrums when a goal or two from the spot might help him do just that is inexcusable. He should know better. His inability to grasp this or his unwillingness to allow Werner these opportunities for whatever reasons is as unfathomable as it is ill-advised.
These are a few reasons why any idea of allowing Timo Werner to leave due to Chelsea’s desire to do so makes no sense whatsoever. If this happens, it will be another regrettable impulsive reaction to a small sample of work in an unprecedentedly challenging time from a player who if given time will reach great heights. If this is in any way in Chelsea’s plans it should be sent to the dumpster immediately and hauled away. Werner will produce. His totals to-date while seemingly pedestrian for him, for many players would be a banner season.
With all that he and his teammates have had to endure this season, it behooves Chelsea to cut the player some slack and give him an opportunity to fully achieve his potential. One thing is certain, he will reach those heights again. Hopefully, it will be for the Blues. If not, he most certainly will do so elsewhere.