So…that was a little unexpected. One of the first big pieces of transfer news of the summer, and it’s Chelsea snatching Timo Werner out from under the noses of a dilly-dallying Liverpool.
Within hours, Chelsea had been named winners of the Women’s Super League on a points-by-game formula, with Liverpool relegated. Related? Almost certainly not, but ouch.
If Werner does indeed make his way to Cobham before next season, you can bet your life he’ll also make his way into the Blues’ starting XI. Here’s how Frank Lampard’s young side could line up next season, assuming RB Leipzig’s German star striker does sign at Stamford Bridge. And assuming nobody else does. We’re assuming a bunch.
CDM – N’Golo Kanté
Already one of the greatest defensive midfielders English football has ever seen, Maurizio Sarri wanted to see something more from Kanté going forward last season. He got it too, although many fans wanted to see him back in his normal disruptive position. Lampard has got a song out of him both as an enforcer and as an attacker this season, and the Frenchman remains as crucial to Chelsea as ever.
Kanté spent just a single stunning season with Leicester City; he’s moving into his fifth with Chelsea. Somehow it doesn’t feel he’s been at Stamford Bridge that long.
CM – Jorginho
The Italy international was brought to Chelsea after having been a favourite at Napoli under then-incoming Blues manager Sarri. In 26 league outings so far this season, he has scored four goals and made two assists, and Lampard would be halfway tempted to start him for his penalty prowess alone.
Similar to a Jordan Henderson type of figure, it’s hard to tell whether he’s better at going forward or covering at the back – but why bother fighting about it? He can do both, and do both well enough to make it into a now highly competition Chelsea front six.
CM – Mateo Kova?i?
Kova?i? has been a vital player in Lampard’s dynamic and experimental side. His attacking contribution has been more risky this season. In turn, his risks have invariably paid off.
His finishing has improved massively – a trait now very much in keeping with two characteristics he’s well renowned for, passing and tackling. Playing ahead of Mason Mount or Ross Barkley or Ruben Loftus-Cheek would require consistent results, but if Kova?i? performs he won’t need to worry one bit about being dropped.
RW – Hakim Ziyech
Easily the best player in the Eredivisie this term, the Dutch-born Morocco international is highly capable when coming inside on his favoured left foot from the right, but he can also cross, shoot and play exquisite long balls from the left on his stronger side too. Here, he would play on the right.
His numbers are ridiculous, and don’t listen to anyone telling you ‘he’s only doing it in the Eredivisie.’ Last season’s Champions League run to the semi-finals with Ajax showed Ziyech can perform against the elite of the elite. Yet another African superstar is about to light up the Premier League. And – Drogba, Essien, Mikel, Eto’o – Chelsea have had their fair share of them.
LW – Christian Pulisic
Not even Clint Dempsey or Landon Donovan were as talented as the diminutive American winger Christian Pulisic. The USA captain, aged just 21, hasn’t played for the Blues since New Year’s Day because of a long-term tendon injury, but he says he has fully recovered. Premier League defences should be scared once more.
He too can be effective cutting in from the ‘wrong’ wing, as he would be playing on the left as a right footer. It is a tactic which Bayern Munich deployed with Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben – needless to say, it can work a treat when used effectively.
ST – Timo Werner
Here we are. The big one. Timo Werner – seemingly destined to join Liverpool – is on his way to Chelsea at the last minute. Sorry Tammy Abraham, you’re one-upped here.
A ferocious goalscorer, the Leipzig man has 25 goals and seven assists in just 29 Bundesliga fixtures this season. A striker to be feared? Clearly. The highest scoring German in Premier League history is Arsenal’s Mesut Özil with 33 strikes. If he’s anything as good in Lampard’s system as he is in Leipzig’s, Werner could have that beaten in a season and a half.
This is a signing, and a front six, which will make waves throughout the Premier League. Even Liverpool would be worried. Well, slightly annoyed, at least.