February 27, 2020
Manchester United have joined Barcelona in the pursuit of RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, according to reports. The 23-year-old has played 33 times for his club this season, scoring 27 goals and a further 11 assists, playing 2,641 minutes of football so far. The German international has a £51 million release clause, if a deal is completed before the end of April.
United and other clubs will be seeking to rejuvenate their squads this summer, preferably before Euro 2020 as that might make transfer fees rocket again. In terms of the money to be spent on this deal, it would show value in the market considering the £75 million spent on Romelu Lukaku during the summer of 2017.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to sign a new striker, taking some reliance off Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood this season and Odion Ighalo, who signed for the remainder of the season on loan from Shanghai Shenhua will be expected to head back to China in the summer. United seemingly opted not to sign Erling Haaland.
Providing that United can get something sorted, which seems to be unlikely in month, considering his long it took them to sign Bruno Fernandes in January and Harry Maguire in the summer, it would be good for United. However, after seven years of failure in the transfer market, expecting it to all of a sudden change would be a mistake.
The Athletic seems to suggest that Liverpool are currently in the driving seat for Werner who is keen to play under compatriot Jurgen Klopp. The UEFA Champions League holders and Premier League champions elect will be seeking to bolster their attacking ranks themselves with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah not getting any younger.
Werner seems to have dropped a hint that Liverpool could be his preferred destination. Taking emotions from this, you can see why players will be tempted by Liverpool. Klopp has taken the time and been given the time to build something and so far it is working out for both him and the club. Werner was reported as saying:
“Liverpool are the best team in the world at the moment, and when you’re linked with that team it makes me very proud.
“It’s a pleasure but I know Liverpool play a lot of good players and I have to improve myself and to learn much more things to get on this level to play there.”
United may well be able to call themselves the biggest club in the world but on the pitch there is serious work to be done. Off the pitch there is a massive task in making the club look like it knows what it is doing. The club has been run badly since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, probably before but his great work papered over the cracks.
United need a player like Werner more than Liverpool does but when they are playing the way they are, it does not matter which team a player supporters, they will be moving to ensure they continue their career in an upward trajectory. At United, at least until there is stability again, there is no guarantee. In 2018, speaking to FourFourTwo Werner said:
“Yes, playing in the Premier League is a dream for me. I would like to play for two or three clubs, and Manchester United are one of those clubs. But probably not in the next few years – later, when my English is a little bit better! I’m very comfortable at RB Leipzig, though.
“Manchester United and Liverpool were the teams I watched quite a lot in England. They were the two that I’m a little bit a fan of, because they have so much history. When Alex Ferguson was the coach, United won everything and were outstanding.
“In Liverpool it’s also their stadium and the atmosphere. But when I have to decide, I’m more Manchester United than Liverpool. I’m now at a point where at some stage in the future I’d like to play in a team that wins titles.”
Whilst he watched both United and Liverpool growing up, the fact he states that he wants to play for a club that wins titles will lead more to Liverpool right now. However, there is no guarantee that they will make a move for him. United should try and make the move, giving mid-April as a deadline to get some movement, from there they should move on.