Werner is set to join Chelsea from Leipzig next month ahead of the start of the 2020/21 season, after becoming the second player to agree a move to Stamford Bridge in the summer window following Ajax star Hakim Ziyech.
The Italian won silverware in west London as a player and a manager, most memorably in the latter role when we lifted the Champions League trophy for the first time in 2012, but it was later in his coaching career that he first spotted the huge potential of Werner in Germany.
‘When I was at Schalke he was at Stuttgart and he was just coming on to the scene,’ explained Di Matteo. ‘During the second part of the season, before I left, I was planning with my sporting director
‘I was saying I wanted to sign this guy, he’s good. He was young, quick, technically good. I said “can we not sign this boy Timo”.
‘We didn’t in the end and then I resigned and so on. Then I went to Villa. Stuttgart, the season after, they got relegated, and so I enquired again to sign him, but then Leipzig signed him on.’
However, the disappointment of twice missing out on the chance to add Werner to his squad, at Schalke and Aston Villa, hasn’t dampened Di Matteo’s enthusiasm for the 24-year-old’s talents.
‘I’m a big fan of his and he’s developed really, really well as well,’ added the former midfielder. ‘He’s a goal scorer, he scores goals, so he can guarantee a certain amount of goals for the team, which is very good, and he’s very pacey as well, he’s fast.’