Timo Werner (£9.5m) has the potential to offer Fantasy Premier League managers value during his debut campaign in English football.
The German striker arrives at Chelsea as one of the most sought-after in Europe and, if he were to replicate his RB Leipzig form of recent seasons, could make a mockery of his initial £9.5m price-tag.
With goals and assists a real possibility in 2020/21, Fantasy managers should certainly keep an eye on Werner.
We have examined his 2019/20 exploits to assess whether or not he can deliver on that promise, and compete with new colleagues Christian Pulisic (£8.5m) and Hakim Ziyech (£8.0m) for a place in FPL squads.
The History and Statistics
Werner joins Frank Lampard’s evolving Chelsea squad with a wealth of goal-scoring experience that not many players can boast at the age of 24.
This is a man who made 100 Bundesliga appearances before he hit 21 before going on to light up the Champions League too.
But for all his explosive potential as a complete forward, ‘Turbo Timo’ started his professional career as a left-winger in the youth setup at local club VfB Stuttgart.
During his three full seasons with Die Roten, between 2013 and 2016, he mustered just 13 goals in 95 senior Bundesliga appearances.
Despite earning a reputation for acceleration and pace, Werner was initially accused of being a selfish player who did not gel particularly well with those around him.
As a result, his quickness in the final third only yielded Werner nine assists for Stuttgart during those three years as a senior player in Baden-Württemberg.
However, a €10 million move to newly-promoted RasenBallsport Leipzig in 2016 propelled Werner into the coveted player he is today.
It was in Saxony that the player was converted to a striker, retaining a tendency to drift into positions on the left-hand side of the field but adding a ruthless accuracy to his game and increased awareness of how to link-up with those around him.
That unique style of play worked wonders for Werner and Leipzig as he scored 21 goals in his new role, the most of any German in the Bundesliga in 2016/17, adding five assists.
That contribution led to the newly-promoted club finishing second and qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in their relatively short history.
Across the continent’s elite competition and the Europa League, Werner netted seven times in 11 appearances during 2017/18, adding another 13 goals and seven assists in the Bundesliga. After two years of impressing on home soil, he was called up to the German national team and has since found the net 11 times in 29 caps for Die Mannschaft.
In 2018/19, Werner started displaying his explosive potential. Reaching 10 goals for the campaign on December 16, it meant that every time he scored so far that season, he went on to complete a brace. Perhaps an interesting thing to look out for in the Premier League. Could it suggest a likeness to Harry Kane‘s (£10.5m) trademark feast-or-famine approach? Only time will tell.
It took the forward until August 2019 to get his first Bundesliga hat-trick, racked up in a 3-1 win at Borussia Mönchengladbach. But he did not have to wait long for his second, netting three times in an 8-0 win over Mainz, adding three assists in the same match.
Those contributions helped Werner to his best-ever Bundesliga campaign, ending 2019/20 with 28 goals and eight assists in 33 starts and one substitute appearance. Robert Lewandowski’s 34-goal haul was the only thing that stood between him and the Golden Boot award.
As a result, Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern Munich were all heavily interested in Werner, Chelsea turning heads by eventually winning the race for his signature.
Leaving Leipzig with 78 goals in 127 Bundesliga appearances, the German international arrives at Stamford Bridge as the complete forward, well-known for his explosive pace, accurate finishing and ability to play team-mates through on goal with his capability in wide areas.
Werner has also earned a strong reputation for penalty-taking, dispatching 13 competitive spot-kicks from a possible 16 so far, netting each one awarded to him since October 2018, the date of his last miss.
|2019-20||Mins per shot||Mins per shot in the box||Mins per shot on target||Mins per key pass|
|Timo Werner *||22.8||28.4||43.9||53|
|Hakim Ziyech **||18.2||55.8||52.2||20.8|
Werner is likely to fill a void in Chelsea’s attack, notably a centre-forward who can be trusted to link well with the rest of the front-three as well as delivering goals with ruthless regularity.
As you can see from the comparisons referenced above, the German compared favourably to Tammy Abraham (£7.5m) and Olivier Giroud (£7.0m) in 2019/20 when it came to goal threat.
Remembering, of course, that these numbers were not recorded in the Premier League, Werner shot more frequently last season than Chelsea’s two centre-forwards.
While there was not much to separate the trio for minutes per shot in the box (Abraham: 28.1 | Werner: 28.4 | Giroud: 29.4), Werner was the clear winner when it came to accuracy.
Well-known around Europe’s top leagues for composure in front of goal, Werner’s penchant for a shot on target will go a long way to improve on what Abraham and Giroud offered last season.
As you can see from the comparisons above, the German international registered an accurate attempt on goal every 43.9 minutes in the Bundesliga. By comparison, Abraham managed one over 63.5 minutes and Giroud was even further behind on 52.6.
Werner’s shots were often of high quality too. In 2019/20 he recorded an expected goals per 90 figure of 0.62. Lewandowski and Ciro Immobile were the only players across the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 to record a better score there.
We often apply something of a dampener on players coming to England’s top-flight from overseas, as the standard of football is generally higher across the division compared to others. However, in Werner’s case, it is harder to discuss this mitigating factor as we know the player is capable of starring in the Champions League and has already scored against Premier League defences.
Werner’s skill-set is also something that has been somewhat lacking from Chelsea’s attacking under Lampard. While he does know how to use his pace to burst away from a chasing defence, 2019/20 has seen Werner develop an excellent understanding of how to find space against deep blocks – something that Chelsea have struggled to break down under Lampard. The former Leipzig man has often been seen making runs across opposing defences, starting from an initially offside position, arriving in space in front of them, ready to receive the ball and turn, either to pass or shoot.
With Werner likely to improve Chelsea’s goal-scoring capabilities in 2020/21, his arrival is also good news for the attacking assets around him in terms of assists.
When Lampard has no injury concerns, Pulisic and Ziyech are the most likely to flank the German, the latter likely to be the chief beneficiary of Werner’s goal threat. The combination of both players could be exceptionally deadly when you consider how frequently Ziyech created chances last season and how often Werner landed a shot on target.
However, we should also consider the German’s own assist potential. As you can see from the table above, Werner was infinitely more creative than Giroud and Abraham in 2019/20.
He played a key pass every 53 minutes in his final Bundesliga campaign, which was also superior to Pulisic and Mason Mount (£7.0m) as well as Chelsea’s existing forwards.
Combining the strong goal threat, potential for assists and an important role in penalties (now that Willian (£8.0m) has departed and Jorginho (£5.0m) is out of favour), there is every reason to believe that Werner can earn his £9.5m price-tag and then some. Those comparing him with Pulisic and Ziyech will notice that the extra £1.0m/£1.5m is effectively spent on a greater chance of goals and a hand in penalties. That might be too much to pay for some, but if Werner does hit the ground running in the Premier League, he is sure to build up ownership quickly as a potential captain option.
There are Fantasy managers who have expressed concern about the German’s positioning, considering he is capable of playing on the left flank of attacking midfield or a front-three. Pulisic does appear rather nailed-on on that side of the Chelsea team so Werner is probably only going to play there if Lampard’s wider options are completely depleted. Do not forget that Kai Havertz could also be in the squad by the start of 2020/21 so it does seem unlikely that a wide role will be Werner’s regular assignment under Lampard.
That said, as we already mentioned earlier on, he does still have a tendency to drift to the left. It will be interesting to see what impact this will have on the Chelsea team – and Fantasy managers watching on.
Could it initially cause some issues for Chelsea if he were to drift out of his furrow and tread on Pulisic’s toes and leave the team lacking its spearhead? This is certainly something Lampard will have to look out for.
By contrast, such runs could still have some advantageous effects from a Fantasy perspective with the right input from the Chelsea boss. Werner drifting left could result in a dovetail effect with Pulisic, whereby he drifts into the open space unmarked, not unlike the relationship between Anthony Martial (£9.0m) and Marcus Rashford (£9.5m). That could bode well for the American midfield asset, who is, of course, £1.0m cheaper than Werner.
Either way, Fantasy managers must remember that these runs from Werner have not massively diminished his activity in the penalty box, such are the effectiveness of his pace and movement. Even though he often drifts left, Werner averaged 6.6 touches in the opposition box per 90 in 2019/20. For some context, Roberto Firmino (£9.5m) was the busiest Premier League forward in the penalty area last season, registering 231 touches there (best among forwards), working out at 6.77 per 90.
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