Will Timo Werner ever sign for Liverpool?
It is one of European football’s most discussed transfer rumours, Timo Werner’s proposed move to Liverpool. The 23-year-old is one of the hottest young talents in the world at the minute and is currently lighting up the Bundesliga with title contenders RB Leipzig, netting 27 goals in all competitions for Julian Nagelsmann’s side.
Liverpool have been tracking Werner’s progress for some time now and were credited with interest for him back in the summer, where it looked as though he might make the switch to Merseyside as a back-up option at Anfield.
Indeed, the Reds would only have to meet Werner’s £50m release clause to capture his signature which, considering his age and potential in the game, is an extremely reasonable price to pay for such a talented asset.
Following his winning goal in last Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 clash against Tottenham, Werner admitted that he felt “proud” to be linked with a club like Liverpool.
“I know that Liverpool is the best team at the moment in the world and when you are linked with that team it makes me very proud,” said the former Stuttgart striker.
“It’s a pleasure but I know that Liverpool play a lot of good players and I have to improve myself and I need to learn many more things to get to that level and to play there.”
The Germany international was on target yet again this weekend, scoring in Leipzig’s 5-0 demolition of Schalke, and had some more cryptic comments for the press in his post-match interview after the game.
“Jurgen Klopp is the best coach in the world,” he said. “There is a lot to suggest that my style of play would suit there (Liverpool).”
Where would he fit in at Anfield?
Although capturing the signing of Werner can be viewed as a coup for Liverpool, the main question remains: where would he fit in at the club? It’s no secret that the Reds have the most destructive front-three in world football right now, each of which are mainstays in Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up practically every week, leaving little room for any other attacking personnel.
Timo Werner is an exceptionally talented footballer but you would certainly not replace him with Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino or Sadio Mane, leaving his presumed role at Anfield as a back-up option in place of Divock Origi - a player who he does offer significantly more than.
Another option which could be explored by Klopp would be dropping Firmino back into a more attacking midfield role and deploying him as a creative No.10, leaving Werner as the lone striker with Salah and Mane either side.
While Firmino has obvious strengths in this area of the pitch - it has to be said that the Brazilian has and never will be an out-and-out striker and always plays a little deeper in this Liverpool side, frequently dropping back to collect the ball from midfield - he has now developed a real understanding of how to play as a main centre-forward in a dynamic 4-3-3 formation, so taking him away from that role could prove detrimental.
There is also Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to consider, a player of huge quality who always benefits this Liverpool team when he is selected. The Englishman has been deployed out wide in place of the injured Sadio Mane in recent times, but he is undoubtedly more effective playing in a more advanced role through the middle. If Werner were to come in as a starting striker, thus pushing Firmino back into midfield, where would that leave him?
Should this much talked about transfer come to fruition, it is hugely unlikely that we would see Werner brought in and started as a striker in place of Firmino, instead the 23-year-old would arrive in England initially as a squad player at Anfield to support the ever-present superstars already lighting up the red half of Merseyside.
That is not to say that there would be no room for the German to break into the side on a more permanent basis, however, especially considering the fact that there is every chance that one of Salah, Firmino or Mane could easily be poached by a Barcelona or Real Madrid of this world in the not-so-distant future.
This is what Werner now needs to weigh up in his head. Joining a club like Liverpool is a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that could easily pass a player by if he does not jump at it when it is first presented. But, such as the case with any top-class, successful team, there is a much slimmer chance of playing regular football, unless you are quite literally one of the five best players in the world.
It seems as though Werner has made his mind up regarding this matter, though, if his recent comments are anything to go by. At Leipzig he is the star of the show but at Liverpool he would be a small fish in an extremely large pond. At 23, however, there is still plenty of time for him to flourish and transform into a great white shark of the footballing world, just like what each of the club’s current front-three have done in recent seasons.
If he can manage this at a club like Liverpool, then the sky really is the limit for the young German at Anfield.