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Chelsea close in on Timo Werner

Finally, Timo Werner is heading to the Premier League! However, rather than signing for Liverpool, the Germany forward is headed to Chelsea to join Frank Lampard's Blues revolution. Werner had been expected to move to Anfield, having openly flirted with Jurgen Klopp for the past four months. "Liverpool are the best team in the world at the moment, and when you're linked with that team it makes me very proud," Werner told Viasport. "It's a pleasure but I know Liverpool play a lot of good players and I have to improve myself and to learn much more things to get on this level to play there." The Reds were heavily interested in Werner, with reports emerging in German media that he even held a Zoom meeting with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp at Easter. That had Liverpool fans making plans on how their attack would look next season, believing that they had strengthened even further to increase their Premier League dominance. Numerous ex-Reds have been vocal about signing Werner for months, but the backlash has already begun after Chelsea swooped in to sign the forward. "Regardless of how good you are, you have to make sure you stay where you are at the very least. That means you need competition for places," Liverpool legend Steve Nicol told ESPN. "No question, Werner would have given the front three - as great as they are and have been - it would have kept them on their toes. "The front three of Liverpool can now breathe a little easier. Financial problems for Liverpool mean that the 2019 Champions League winners have decided now is not the right time to make a €60 million signing - how could the club want to furlough their own staff to save money and then turn around an unveil a mega-money striker? Chelsea had no such concerns and have held negotiations with Werner and his agent, offering him a £200,000-a-week salary to bring him to Stamford Bridge. That wage would have made him Liverpool's highest paid player and would be completely at odds with using the British government furlough scheme. Roman Abramovich's riches mean that Chelsea can afford both Werner's release clause and wages, with the Blues set to receive £49m from Atletico Madrid for Alvaro Morata, who had flopped at the club. Werner's recent record of 31 goals in 40 games this season suggests he should not follow Morata's lead and is likely to be a success in the Premier League, which could annoy many Liverpool fans who were hopeful he would wear red next season. At Chelsea, he will be supported by Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic, while Hakim Ziyech will be another summer arrival, having agreed to move from Ajax. Werner may play in a front two beside Tammy Abraham or Olivier Giroud, or else could be used as a lone striker or on the left wing. He offers plenty of options for Lampard, and should provide plenty of goals too, helping turn Chelsea into a regular top four side once more - something fans feared might be impossible after the sale of Eden Hazard last summer. While other teams in the Premier League are standing still because of financial issues, FFP rules, and problems arising from the coronavirus crisis, Chelsea are continuing to improve. They still have to secure Champions League football this season, but they look to have already guaranteed a bright future with the addition of Werner and Ziyech.

Ronan Murphy


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