Timo Werner has agreed to join Chelsea with the Blues on the brink of tying up a deal to sign the forward from RB Leipzig.
German international Werner is expected to become Chelsea’s second signing of the summer transfer window, following Hakim Ziyech, despite the suspension of the Premier League due to the coronavirus crisis.
As exclusively revealed by Telegraph Sport on Tuesday, Chelsea decided to move to sign Werner after Liverpool stalled on meeting his release clause which is reported to be worth around £53 million.
Werner has now agreed to join Chelsea on a contract worth almost £200,000 a week and the club are expected to finalise a deal with Leipzig thanks to the fast and decisive work of director Marina Granovskaia.
Assuming it goes through, the signing will be a significant coup for Chelsea and head coach Frank Lampard, as Werner had been tracked by Premier League leaders Liverpool and their manager Jurgen Klopp.
It also signals Chelsea’s intent to back Lampard and try to make ground on Liverpool and Manchester City ahead of next season after going through the last two transfer windows without making a signing.
A Fifa ban stopped Chelsea making any incoming transfers last summer and attempted moves for Dries Mertens and Edinson Cavani both failed in January.
But with many clubs preparing to scale back their spending in the next transfer window and Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal already preparing to make the majority of their business free transfers and loans, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich appears ready to take advantage.
Lampard had identified his attack as the main area he wanted to strengthen and both Ziyech, who will arrive from Ajax in a deal worth £37 million, and Werner will significantly boost his options.
Werner has already scored 25 Bundelisga goals for Leipzig this season and was also on target in the first leg of the German club’s last-16 Champions League victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
It is believed Chelsea scouted Werner against Spurs to check on how he might be able to adapt to the Premier League and cope against English opposition, and the 24-year-old clearly impressed.
Chelsea failed with a bid to sign Mertens in the last transfer window and the Belgian is now expected to pen a new contract with Napoli.
Timo Werner – Welcome to Chelsea?
Werner’s numbers for Leipzig ⤵️
2016/17: 31 games, 21 goals
2017/18: 32 games, 13 goals
2018/19: 30 games, 16 goals
2019/20: 29 games, 25 goals
Werner will offer the Blues similar options to those that attracted Lampard to Mertens, as he can play off the flanks, start through the middle or partner a striker. His arrival could also coincide with the departures of Willian and Pedro Rodriguez, who are yet to agree new contracts past this season.
It remains to be seen whether or not Lampard will still try to sign a more traditional centre forward, given Olivier Giroud extended his contract for a further 12 months and the club still hope to agree a new contract with Tammy Abraham.
But their fast start to the forthcoming window has shades of the summer of 2014, when Chelsea signed Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Filipe Luis early on before winning the Premier League title in the following season.
With attacking midfielder Ziyech costing Chelsea up to £37m, Chelsea are already set to spend around £90m, including the Werner fee, and they will not stop there.
Lampard wants a left-back, with England international Ben Chilwell a long-term target. With Leicester City likely to demand more than £50 million for Chilwell, Chelsea have also made checks on Ajax’s Nicolas Tagliafico who they have been told they could sign for £22.4 million.
Lampard’s side could also attempt to sign a new central defender with Nathan Ake, who was at the club before joining Bournemouth, still on their radar.
In terms of outgoings, as well as Willian and Pedro, Michy Batshuayi faces an uncertain future, while Chelsea want to sell Tiemoue Bakayoko and may well receive bids for Ross Barkley, who is of interest to Newcastle United and West Ham United. Marcos Alonso may be allowed to return to Spain if Lampard can sign a new left-back.