It seems Liverpool fans can forget about a deal to sign Timo Werner this summer. After weeks, months, even years of speculation regarding the German international striker it seems Chelsea have pipped them to the privilege.
The German, according to The Telegraph, has agreed on a move to Stamford Bridge in a deal reportedly worth around £53 million.
But some Liverpool fans are not too bothered about the news. Werner was unlikely to immediately become a starter for Liverpool, with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Roberto Firmino currently dominating the forward positions. Divock Origi provides decent back-up whilst Takumi Minamino, Harvey Elliott and Rhian Brewster can also operate in the attacking roles.
Ordinarily, that would be the case. But ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, there was a clear reason why Liverpool needed another frontman.
The African Cup of Nations has gone back to being held in the winter, during the European season after next year’s hosts Cameroon raised concerns about weather conditions.
Speaking to the BBC about the decision, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp called it a ‘catastrophe’ considering the African talent in his ranks.
“(It) is, for us, a catastrophe.
“I couldn’t respect the Africa Cup of Nations more than I do because I like the competition and watched it a lot in the past. It’s a very interesting tournament.
“But, it’s an obvious problem that you play a tournament in the middle of the season, although it makes more sense for Africa to play it in our winter when the weather is better for them – I get that.”
It means Liverpool are likely to lose both Mane and Salah for a vast period of next season. Both are the key men for Senegal and Egypt respectively and with both nations likely to go far, it is more likely to be a lengthy absence.
Of course, this comes with the caveat of not knowing what the global health crisis might mean for AFCON 2021, due to take place in Cameroon from January 9th to February 6th next year. The most recent round of qualifying matches were postponed, meaning there is a chance ti tournament may get pushed back.
Liverpool were however planning around the idea of the tournament going ahead next year and were likely to see Werner as a top quality replacement for one of their star frontmen. Werner would also have been providing competition to the current front-three whilst also acting as an eventual succession plan given Real Madrid’s continued interest in Liverpool’s star attack.
So it will be no surprise should Liverpool go looking for a more affordable striking alternative either this summer or in January, to provide cover for Mane and Salah’s upcoming international duties.
But Werner will no longer be the man for the job.