Chelsea beat off competition from Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus to sign one of the best players in the world

According to one agent, Chelsea have just signed a £100m player for £50m.

Timo Werner is one of the best forwards in the world and in normal circumstances he would be moving to England for a Premier League record fee.

The pandemic and a relatively low release clause mean Chelsea have been able to pull off a deal they had little chance of completing just a few months ago.

Last summer, Werner almost joined Bayern Munich for €30m (£27m). Not everyone at Bayern was convinced they should buy him though and he ended up signing a contract extension at RB Leipzig with a €50m (£45m) release clause which ran out on Monday.

It was an open secret in Germany this would be his final season in Leipzig. The Red Bull organisation’s football business strategy is to develop young players and sell them on and it has paid off handsomely with Werner. They signed him from Stuttgart for €10m (£9m) and they are making a €40m (£36m) profit four years later.

And what a four years it has been.

Werner has scored 93 times and counting and it is not just Bayern and Chelsea who have been trying to sign him. Up until the pandemic, it was almost certain he would be moving to Liverpool.

Werner looked set for Liverpool…so why didn’t it happen?

Liverpool appeared to be leading the race to sign Werner prior to the coronavirus pandemic
Liverpool appeared to be leading the race to sign Werner prior to the coronavirus pandemic

Werner had spoken to Jurgen Klopp on the telephone earlier this year and he had been impressed by what he had heard.

In television interviews in February, he could scarcely have been more complimentary about Klopp and Liverpool. He said Klopp was the best manager in the world and Liverpool were the best side in the world.

He told his agent that as far as he was concerned, he wanted to move to a Champions League club where he could play regularly. At Liverpool, he would have been guaranteed Champions League football and crucially he was willing to fight for a place in a side which already included Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Everything was set for Werner to move to Liverpool this summer until the pandemic changed everything.

Football shutting down and games being played behind closed doors meant Liverpool’s revenues were forecast to drop by about £100m in a year. Liverpool’s owners believed it would be irresponsible to spend £50m on a player in the current economic climate and their stance was backed by Klopp.

Liverpool still wanted Werner though, and were willing to negotiate a lower fee with Leipzig but the German club wanted the release clause paid in full.

That is not surprising considering there has been a buzz around Werner ever since he became a teenager and started scoring prolifically for Stuttgart’s age group sides. Bayern, Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona have been watching his progress closely for the past decade and this year Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and Inter Milan have all also held talks about signing him.

‘Abramovich making Chelsea great again’

Roman Abramovich is providing the funds to help Frank Lampard reshape the Chelsea squad
Roman Abramovich is providing the funds to help Frank Lampard reshape the Chelsea squad

Chelsea, though, are the only club who put their money on the table.

United were interested but their priority signing this summer is Jadon Sancho. The Spanish and Italian clubs would not have hesitated to pay the release fee in normal circumstances, but they have other targets they believe they can sign this summer using swap deals to bring prices down to more affordable levels.

None of that matters as far as Chelsea and their fans are concerned. They have got their man and it looks like Chelsea are going places again. Frank Lampard was able to convince Werner Chelsea was the right club for him to take the next step in his career.

Werner could yet be joined by his Germany team-mate Kai Havertz at Chelsea if Lampard gets his way
Werner could yet be joined by his Germany team-mate Kai Havertz at Chelsea if Lampard gets his way

When you factor in Werner’s wages of £200,000 a week, Chelsea are investing a total of £100m on Werner. After two windows with no signings, Chelsea have made a real statement of intent in 2020. A £34m deal has already been agreed for Hakim Ziyech to join from Ajax next month and Chelsea also still want Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen and Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell.

Chelsea have won more trophies in English football than anyone else since Roman Abramovich bought the club 17 years ago, but questions were being asked about the Russian billionaire’s commitment as Manchester City and Liverpool established themselves as the two most dominant forces in English football.

Those questions are now being answered. Like all good businessmen, Abramovich has spotted an opportunity in the market to make Chelsea great again.

It’s all a far cry from just two years ago when the Home Office delayed renewing his visa and £1bn plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge were put on hold.

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