Although for a long time it had seemed that Red Bull Leipzig’s Timo Werner had his heart set on a move to Liverpool, it looks now as if Chelsea have pulled off a coup and are about to land the prolific striker.
Due to the financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis, Liverpool announced they would not be working on any transfers this summer. This left Werner with the option of staying in Germany for another year or moving elsewhere.
Manchester United were also tracking the German, who has a £53 million release clause that ends this month. But it would appear that Chelsea are the only club to have triggered that buyout option.
United decided this week to prolong Odion Ighalo’s loan deal instead. So what does that tell us about what we can expect from the Red Devils in the forthcoming transfer window?
First of all, given that £53 million is an excellent price for one of the world’s top young strikers, why didn’t United also trigger Werner’s release clause? We can only speculate – perhaps Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had some doubts over the German, or perhaps he believes that Mason Greenwood is or will be a better player than Werner and is ready to step up.
There is also the worrying possibility that United were just too slow to act or too reluctant to pay, but let’s choose not to go down that road.
There are positive aspects to the deal for United. Apart from the obvious opportunity to have a little laugh at Liverpool for losing out on their top target, Werner to Chelsea, following the Blues’ capture of right winger Hakim Ziyech, almost certainly rules the London side out of the Jadon Sancho race, leaving the Red Devils with a seemingly clear run at the England international.
It also removes a major rival from the chase for Lyon’s Moussa Dembele, who has also been extensively reported to be on both clubs’ shopping list. Wolves’ Raul Jimenez and Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Alassane Plea have also been linked with a move to Old Trafford.
Of course, it may be that the club has decided a striker is not a priority this summer. But if it is still Solskjaer’s intention to strengthen up front, it will now be a huge advantage that Frank Lampard has already made his move and is out of the race for the remaining stars on the market.
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