Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are making significant progress in boosting their squad for the upcoming Premier League 2020/21 season, with the announcement of German forward Timo Werner from RB Leipzig all but imminent.
Werner will become Lampard’s second high-profile signing following the arrival of Hakim Ziyech on a five-year deal from Ajax. The 27-year-old Moroccan has reportedly cost Chelsea a mere £33.3m, potentially rising to £36.7m depending on add-ons. Werner, on the other hand, has been a bit expensive at £49 million but Chelsea have anyway handed him a five-year deal worth £200,000 a week.
The German, since moving to Leipzig from his boyhood club Stuttgart in 2016, has been an absolute revelation. He has, in fact, scored 25 goals in just 29 Bundesliga appearances, making him one of the most in-demand strikers across Europe.
It was quoted that Liverpool were the heavy favourites in landing him to Merseyside, but his eventual release clause of £49 million proved to be the hindrance. Bayern Munich, on the other hand, were also said to be in the chase, but the record German champions moved their attention towards Manchester City’s Leroy Sane instead, leaving Chelsea the lone survivor in the battle.
His arrival at Stamford Bridge would mean a certain Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud, who signed a one-year extension with Chelsea, will have to fight more for a place in the starting XI. But Werner’s versatility will allow Lampard to line both of his new attackers head-to-head with Abraham in a three-man attacking setup.
How will Chelsea line up with Werner in the starting XI
Lampard’s model of refashioning Chelsea around youngsters has been perfectly documented during the 2019/20 season. Right from Mason Mount to Billy Gilmour to Fikayo Tomori and Reece James, the former England international has never shied away from giving the young guns a go in his starting line-up.
But with both Ziyech and Werner at his disposal, expect someone to make a sacrifice.
The likes of Pedro and Willian are rightly expected to leave Chelsea on a free transfer after the season, but that still leaves Christian Pulisic in the frame.
Kepa Arrizabalaga is expected to be on goal, followed by James on the right and Marcos Alonso on left. As far as the centre-back pairing is concerned, Lampard has the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, and Kurt Zouma to choose from.
N’Golo Kante will continue to make his lung-bursting contribution from the middle of the park, while Jorginho will provide the needed creativity. For the final spot in the midfield three, Ross Barkley, Mateo Kovacic, Mount and even Ruben Loftus-Cheek are expected to give Lampard a sure-shot headache.
Then comes arguably the most talked-about area, the attach. Hakim Ziyech is expected to march on the right flank which will force Lampard to put Werner on the left and Abraham in the centre.
With the goalkeeper and defence sorted, Lampard might be forced in making a few tweaks if he decides to go with a 4-2-3-1 approach.
Expect Kante and Jorginho to retain their places, and given Mount’s attacking instinct, he might line up in the centre of the attacking three. Ziyech will once again obtain the left flank, with Werner on right, leaving Tammy Abraham as the lone forward in the set-up. This particular formation will give Chelsea an extra man, especially on the counter, where the likes of Ziyech and Werner will be key, while Mount can be the creative outlay.
Werner is no stranger to a two-man attacking setup, having already played alongside Yussuf Poulsen, who has scored five goals and set-up seven in 22 Bundesliga outings this season, at Leipzig.
If Lampard does go with an old-school 4-4-2 formation, both Kante and Jorginho are certain to be a part of it, given their defensive awareness. With Ziyech on the right, Christian Pulisic can take the other wing, while both Werner and Abraham can do the damage from the front.
Werner, who has scored four and assisted two in eight Champions League appearances this season, brings a wealth of experience to a rather young Chelsea unit and is certain to make a quality impact in the Premier League.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Glyn Kirk
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