Timo Werner to skip Champions League to join up with Chelsea
Leipzig are in the quarters but Germany striker will link up with new employers
Timo Werner is set to miss Leipzig’s Champions League quarter-final in order to join up with new club Chelsea. Photograph: Hannibal Hanschke/Getty/AFP
Leipzig reached the last eight of the Champions League for the first time when they beat Tottenham in March but Werner has agreed to join Chelsea and is prepared to give up the chance of European glory after signalling his intent to move to London in July. It remains to be seen whether the German club, who finish their domestic season on June 27th, can convince the forward to alter his stance.
Werner verbally accepted Chelsea’s offer of a five-year deal worth £180,000 a week after being won over by Frank Lampard, the manager, and Petr Cech, the technical and performance adviser. The Germany forward, who has 31 goals in all competitions this season, is expected to complete the transfer soon. Chelsea have been putting the finishing touches to the deal since agreeing to trigger the 24-year-old’s £53m release clause.
Werner, comfortable through the middle or drifting in from the left, played a key role in Julian Nagelsmann’s side reaching the Champions League quarter-finals. However the coronavirus pandemic has forced Uefa to delay the tournament until August, leaving Werner in an awkward position. He does not want to risk an injury and would prefer to have as much time as possible to adapt to Lampard’s demands, even though he would not be able to feature for Chelsea until next season.
Lampard’s side have to play nine Premier League matches, an FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester and the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie against Bayern, who are 3-0 up.
Werner was a long-time target for Liverpool and Bayern Munich, only for Chelsea to make the clearest statement of intent, and is rated as one of the best young forwards in Europe.
Chelsea, who are also targeting the Bayer Leverkusen winger Kai Havertz and the Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell, have until June 23rd to ensure that Willian and Pedro see out the season with them. The veteran wingers are out of contract on June 30th and are yet to sign short-term extensions. - Guardian