Hello and welcome to the inaugural Transfer Tuesday. This week, the sweet sweet content fell into my lap with the sudden news of Timo Werner being on the cusp of a move to Chelsea. Thus, the only natural thing to do is to take a look at how RB Leipzig’s resident speed-demon might adjust to life at Stamford Bridge.
A Central Threat
Naturally, it must be considered how Werner could be deployed centrally. Thanks to our ‘friends’ over at WhoScored.com, it becomes apparent that this has been the norm under Julian Nagelsmann this season. In fact, Werner has made 30 appearances in all competitions in central positions.
In terms of return, the numbers do the talking with an impressive 25 goals when played here. Taking this at face value, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Werner should swap straight in for Abraham, who has only scored 16 goals. However, this is where there exists an interesting contrast of role.
In the current Leipzig team, Werner is largely playing with another striker on the pitch, be it Patrik Schick or Yussef Poulsen. This is not the case for Abraham. Whilst it may seem counter-intuitive to suggest that playing with another striker may increase one’s goal tally, there very much exists an argument that Werner has been the beneficiary of such a phenomenon.
Most likely, this could be attributed the good old little and large strike partnership. Werner’s blistering speed and movement allow him to pounce on balls moved on by his partner. Indeed, Poulsen has notched up 7 assists in 15 appearances.
So how could this pan out at Frank Lampard’s Chelsea?
Perhaps Frank Lampard might just discard a season of structured and expressive football for some good old-fashioned 4-4-2 whack it into the mixer antics, but something suggests to me that this may not happen.
Instead, we may look to how else Werner has been used in Germany, namely his 6 appearances from the left (admittedly not the strongest sample size). With 4 goals this is equally promising for Blues fans, especially given this may provide the key to his integration into the side.
One possibility is that Werner plays something of a drifting role whilst Abraham holds down the middle. The benefit of this is two-fold.
First, this provides the obvious advantage of having a strong goal threat from out wide. Basing Werner on the left avoids the risk of being stifled for space in the middle, whilst also giving Abraham more room to operate. Furthermore, this does not rule out the possibility of drifting inside when the chance presents itself. When combined with the attacking talent from the middle and right, such as any mixture of (deep breath) Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Mason Mount (exhales), there exist endless possibilities for Chelsea to overload any Premier League defence.
The other advantage comes when Chelsea do not have possession and is a by-product of the bolder than ever fullback. Right now, a team in the Premier League tends to leave their centre backs and defensive midfielder(s) back when they have the ball, allowing either one or two of the fullbacks to push high. As such, the space for counter attacks to have the most effect must be out wide. For about the third time, I must emphasise that Timo Werner is very fast. Fast enough that he would be a very dangerous man if Lampard chooses to put him out wide when Chelsea are out of possession.
Don’t forget the lines
Immortal advice for both actors and someone comparing the Premier League and Bundesliga. In my expert opinion, shaped by a solid 3 weeks of consistent viewing, perhaps the most striking difference between the two leagues is the consistent willingness of our German league counterparts to hold a very high defensive line.
Given that Timo Werner is vErY fAsT, this has invariably played to his strengths. So much so that I have seen people on other footballing forums cast doubts on Werner’s ability to adapt. To that, I invite anyone to go and seek out Tammy Abraham’s opener at Vicarage Road this season. You might remember it as pretty much the only time that ‘that Jorginho forward pass’ actually came to something. Anyway, whilst Watford’s line was by no means hugging the halfway line, it still presents an obvious case that there is space to be found beyond the defensive line for savvy forwards.
Thus, I hope you lose no sleep over Mr Werner’s capability to beat the defensive line in the Premier League. The only downside is it may just bring about another 3 Jorginho overhit whips over the top a game (ahah I’m only joking please I swear).
Timo to Wrap Up
See what I did there? Anyway I hope this was an enjoyable read. In essence, I think Timo Werner really has the potential to do some serious damage for Chelsea in the coming years. As one of the standout players of the Bundesliga Corona-Era and its enhanced viewership, it’s very much a move with a lot of excitement behind it. Do feel free to share this in 18 months if he’s a certified bust on loan at Vitesse.
Hopefully you’ll be getting one of these a week, if you have any suggestions please do share.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you think about Timo Werner in the comments.
Photo Credit: HAYOUNG JEON/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock