Michael Owen has told Premier League Productions – as per the Metro – that he believes Divock Origi is the reason Liverpool opted against signing Timo Werner after Chelsea confirmed a move for the RB Leipzig attacker.
Werner, 24, has been in sensational form for Leipzig this season – ending the campaign with 34 goals in 45 league and cup appearances, as well as adding 13 assists. He is also due to play in the Champions League for Leipzig.
The Germany international has been long linked with a move to Liverpool, but it appears that the Reds did not want to pay the £49million asking price, which the Independent claim Chelsea have splashed out to land Werner.
Liverpool legend Owen is of the opinion that Liverpool handing Origi a new deal last summer means they are unlikely to sell the Belgium cap, but his presence in the side made Liverpool decide against a move for Werner.
“Will Origi and Takumi Minamino be there next season? Yes they will,” Owen told PLP, as per the Metro. “He’d done what he’d done [in the Champions League] and they thought have to give them a new contract.
“Werner was obviously a player that Liverpool were linked to and he’s gone to Chelsea.He would have been brilliant for Liverpool. Origi’s contractvirtually ruled out a back-up striker and I’m not sure that they don’t need a better one.”
TBR’s view – Owen has it bang on
Had Liverpool chose to sell Origi, they could have brought in a fee in the region of £15million and that may have contributed towards a move for Werner. Instead, they offered him a contract, and he has been poor this season.
But Liverpool’s decision to hand Origi a new deal means they are now stuck with the ex-Lille star until the summer of 2024, with clubs – especially this summer – likely to go after players that are out of contract, or in their last year.
If Liverpool chose not to extend 25-year-old Origi’s deal, they could have signed Werner this summer. Certainly, they would have intensified their pursuit of the former Stuttgart ace.