Thomas Tuchel has told Chelsea to send Timo Werner to Borussia Dortmund in a swap deal for Erling Haaland, according to reports.
Werner has struggled to live up to expectations since joining Chelsea from RB Leipzig in the summer. So far, he has scored 10 goals from 39 appearances. That’s a respectable tally, but he did go two months without a goal earlier in the season.
What’s more, only one of his five Premier League goals so far has come in 2021. Despite a promising beginning, it seems Werner’s prospects at Chelsea are already fading.
There have been rumours that the club will try to sign an upgrade in the summer. For example, one of the names in contention is their former centre-forward Romelu Lukaku.
But the Belgian is simply an alternative to their main target – Dortmund starlet Haaland.
The Norway international has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent seasons. Still only 20 years old, he has scored 49 goals in 49 games for Dortmund since joining them in January 2020.
His spectacular form in front of goal has seen him tipped to be a future Ballon d’Or winner. It seems unlikely he will be staying in the Bundesliga for much longer.
Haaland has an appealing €75m release clause that will only be active in the summer of 2022. In the meantime, Dortmund can command whatever price they like.
Chelsea and his other interested suitors were recently warned that it could take upwards of €150m to prise him away. But one way the Blues could reduce the asking price is by sending Werner the other way.
The former Stuttgart striker previously enjoyed several productive seasons in the Bundesliga. Hence, a return to his native country could bring out his best once again.
But recent reports indicated that Werner has no desire to make such a move. Under contract until 2025, he would rather stay and fight for his place.
It appears his manager has other ideas, though. Tuchel is yet to see the best of Werner since taking charge of Chelsea in January.
As such, Sport claim that he has told owner Roman Abramovich to use his compatriot as bait in a bid for Haaland.
Chelsea are just one of many suitors for Haaland, who also has admirers at Manchester City, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona. But with a prohibitive asking price, a cash-plus-player swap deal may be the way to win the race.
Chelsea can offer Dortmund a like-for-like replacement in return who has already been successful in Germany. It seems Tuchel wants Abramovich to take advantage of this to make sure they get their man.
Reports previously warned that Chelsea may struggle to convince Dortmund due to their poor relationship with Tuchel from his time in charge. But putting Werner on a plate for them may sweeten the deal.
Tuchel speaks out on Werner future
Addressing rumours that Werner is unhappy in west London, Tuchel told reporters: “Stop reading! Read a book!
“There is no book on Timo, so read a book! For Timo, I think he has no reason now to be frustrated because he played an amazing match against Liverpool, maybe his best match since I arrived.
“Then he had a good match against Everton with a lot of chances to score. He normally is clinical enough and strong enough.
“He did not score, okay, in a situation like this, this can affect his self-confidence of course. But what does it help?
“The clear advice from us is don’t focus on the result, focus on the process, get your decision-making right, get your technique right, take good decisions and the ball and the opponent’s goalkeeper will do the rest.
“And then it’s either in or it’s an amazing save.
“He can improve from there, but there is simply no time to reflect on what is going to happen in the summer and next year. There’s no time.
“In the moment I don’t see why he should be frustrated. We gave him a little time to breathe against Leeds.
“But right now, I don’t see why he should be too frustrated.
“And honestly, nobody here is blaming the strikers. This is a team effort to attack and defend, but we expect our guys to create more chances, to be more decisive because we expect the defenders to play on the highest level and so we also expect that of our strikers.
“And then maybe all the stuff you read will disappear.”
But behind the scenes, Tuchel was heard lambasting him on the sidelines a few days earlier. Pitchside microphones caught the coach criticising the player for his positioning in a win over Everton.
Only the manager himself will know what he really thinks about whether they should sacrifice Werner this summer.