Timo Werner is talented but he’s simply not good enough for Liverpool
I’ve heard the noise surrounding Timo Werner in recent weeks – but I’m not a big fan.
I realise he’s a talented player, he has moments of real brilliance in matches that underline his quality.
But I stand by this: is Werner up to the standard of Liverpool’s current front three? Not for me.
And, obviously, my opinion will be put to the test next season if he does complete a move to Chelsea.
There has been so much rumour around his intended destination for months now, with my former club at the heart of that, but most of the other big names in European football have been linked to him.
I’ve also seen the meltdown from some Liverpool fans when they realised he’s probably not leaving RB Leipzig for Anfield after all.
It makes it seem as though he’s a Marco van Basten, a world-class player who would walk into any side.
For the life of me, I don’t know why. I’ve watched him a fair few times and there are things about his game I like and admire.
But does he influence games consistently enough? Not for me. Does he match up to the players you are signing him to challenge and replace? Not at Liverpool. Maybe at Chelsea.
And that’s the important point I think supporters forget. I’ve heard so many people complaining about Liverpool owners not splashing the cash, not diving in on Werner when he’s a ‘steal’ at £52million. Is he really, though?
By the standards of the last couple of years, maybe. Maybe not. It’s still a fairly hefty price, when you compare him to the fees Liverpool paid for Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Bobby Firmino, who all cost £10m-£20m less.
Yet now, with the football world in financial meltdown because of a global pandemic, every single person connected with the game knows there is an absolute certainty of a massive recalibration of the transfer market.
It’s only supporters who don’t see that. They see one of the promising young strikers in Europe apparently being linked to every club – and then not going to their club.
This is the reality – all those other clubs, Barcelona, Liverpool, Juventus, Real Madrid, Man City and United have looked at him and thought, in the current market, his release clause fee is too high.
How do we know that? Because otherwise they would have activated it.
So you’re left with Chelsea, who through a unique set of circumstances have almost £60m to spend because of a deal from last summer in selling Alvaro Morata to Atletico Madrid that only kicks in this summer.
And they will offload about £300,000 a week from their wage bill – perhaps double that – from players who are out of contract, such as Pedro and Willian, as well as players they may be able to get rid of.
To be honest, I see a situation where Chelsea saw perhaps the only circumstance in which they would sign Werner.
That they had to pay the release fee to get him – because other clubs wouldn’t.
In short, they had to pay a massive premium to make him come to their club.
We’ve seen it before with clubs struggling a tiny bit – they pay over the odds to get players. City had to do that for a while, Chelsea themselves too.
At times, Liverpool have done that over the past two decades. It rarely worked for them.
I’m not saying Werner is a flat-track bully, but I do think there are clearly doubts about him from all the top clubs with all their sophisticated analysis that tells them exactly what a player is worth.
If Liverpool value a player as essential, they will pay the premium – as they did for Virgil van Dijk and Alisson. Both were world-record fees in their position at the time.
So I stand by my analysis. I’m not sure the fuss is worth it about Werner. I’m not sure he’s a Liverpool player.