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Domenico Tedesco remains coy amid uncertain future of former RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner

Werner has failed to kick on after starring for RBL across four Bundesliga seasons before his ill-fated move to Chelsea, with a summer exit possible

German international striker Timo Werner has been a massive disappointment for Chelsea in the last two seasons, with the Blues potentially moving on from the Stuttgart native this summer in the wake of just ten goals in 56 appearances in the Premier League.

Heralded as arguably the best central striker in the German player pool on the back of four seasons in Saxony with Bundesliga upstarts RB Leipzig, Werner hit 95 goals in 159 appearances for Die Roten Bullen in all competitions across four seasons at Red Bull Arena but has been a shadow of himself since his arrival at Stamford Bridge.

Neither Frank Lampard nor fellow German Thomas Tuchel has been able to get a tune out of Werner, who managed just 6 goals in the Premier League in 2020-21, and a paltry 4 in 2021-22. Though Romelu Lukaku has returned to Inter Milan on loan, Chelsea can only boast Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz that may be pressed into service as alternatives in the number 9 role.

Tuchel could also in theory decide to place a massive amount of faith in Albanian youngster Armando Broja, but with Broja looking to log first-choice minutes, Werner is likely to be third on the depth chart this season. In a World Cup year, Werner himself has made known his desire to log considerable time on the pitch.

“I could be happy everywhere. It is clear I want to play more and I should play more to first be in good shape for the World Cup and also to have a chance to play at the World Cup.”

“It doesn’t change anything whether it is a winter World Cup or in the summer. I think if I play half of the season or the whole season, I should play. It doesn’t change anything in my mind.”

In that light, links with RB Leipzig have already cropped up given his history of success with the club, but RBL manager Domenico Tedesco has been quick to disconnect from any notion that the club could focus on crafting terms to bring Werner back this summer.

“He’s not our player, I have a clear opinion on that. I don’t comment on players who aren’t under contract with us. It has something to do with respect. That is an important principle that I have set for myself.”

There have been credible rumors that both Juventus (reported by Fabrizio Romano) and Real Madrid (mentioned by Diario SPORT) could consider a move for Werner, and both would likely have a more credible place in the senior team than Leipzig.

Tedesco at the time of writing can call upon André Silva, Yussuf Poulsen, and Alexander Sörloth to lead the line in his preferred 3-4-2-1 deployment last season, while the likes of Christopher Nkunku, Emil Forsberg, Dani Olmo, and Dominik Szobolszlai are all in contention for the two attacking midfield slots just behind the main striker.

This is in stark contrast to Madrid, who remains almost entirely reliant on French star Karim Benzema to lead the line after Serbian forward Luka Jović departed for Fiorentina, with unreliable options like Borja Mayoral and Mariano Díaz still at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Much of the same can be said about Juventus and the pressure placed on Dušan Vlahović, with center-forward options apart from the Serbian coming down to Moise Kean, while Brazilian starlet Kaio Jorge remains sidelined until the latter part of 2022.

There is still enough room for Tuchel to roll the dice one last time on Werner this season, but if the German’s recent comments about the 26-year-old are anything to go by, the ball is entirely in Werner’s half of the pitch if he wants to stake his claim for serious minutes in 2022-23.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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