The £42m saving Chelsea can make this summer with Thomas Tuchel squad evolution already underway


"I'm a striker and I always want to score," said Timo Werner after finding the net for Germany against Israel on Sunday evening. "Things aren't going the way I'd like at Chelsea, so it's all the better that things are going well here under Hansi Flick.

"I really enjoy playing football [with Germany], no matter where I'm playing. There are differences in the style of play between football at Chelsea and here. Maybe the style of the national team suits me better. Here, I always have scoring chances. I can score goals. I feel very comfortable."

Harsher words of criticism have been uttered by players away on international duty in years past. Yet that doesn't give Werner a free pass for his comments. They were unnecessary, perhaps even ungrateful given the support he has been shown throughout his Chelsea career by the club's supporters and Thomas Tuchel.

Werner was signed from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2020 for £49.5million. Many expected him to be the missing piece of the puzzle at Stamford Bridge. He had plundered goal after goal for the Bundesliga side and established himself as one of the most fearsome forwards in European football. Bring that form to Chelsea and the Blues could become Premier League title contenders.

Yet after 80 appearances for the Blues, Werner has just 19 goals. And only seven of those have been struck this season. The hope that accompanied his arrival has long dissipated. The belief in his goalscoring prowess - in the Premier League at least - has very much been extinguished. Still, supporters have not turned on the 26-year-old.

Part of the reason for that is Werner has an endearing personality. He is ebullient on the training pitches at Cobham and a somewhat kooky figure in the dressing room. That he doesn't take himself too seriously is enjoyed. That he has even been self-deprecating about his own form is appreciated.

"Sometimes I don’t know why the fans are supporting me so much," the German said in January. Tuchel has also defended Werner's lack of goals during his time in charge at Stamford Bridge - the Chelsea head coach has always been ready to point out the off-the-ball work undertaken by his faltering forward.

“He is a professional guy a top guy, he works hard," the Blues boss said last April. “We will never stop pushing, we will never stop believing."

As blunt as it sounds, that no longer appears the case. Tuchel has started Werner just 15 times across all competitions this term. More damningly is that he has been named in the side on just three occasions in the Premier League since the beginning of December, although he did miss three weeks after catching Covid over the festive period.

This summer - no matter who purchases the club from Roman Abramovich - feels like a natural endpoint for Werner at Chelsea. He is not first choice under Tuchel. Nor second or third in truth; the German coach appears to have moved away from the 26-year-old.

And in a World Cup year that is a problem for any player. It's why reports in Germany that the forward's representatives are planning an exit strategy come as no surprise. A departure has the potential to suit both Werner and the Blues.

For the German international, a return to the Bundesliga, a division in which he struck 91 times for Vfb Stuttgart and Leipzig, would be ideal and Borussia Dortmund have a long-standing interest. understands BVB monitored Werner's situation at Stamford Bridge last summer with Erling Haaland garnering interest.

For Chelsea, the opportunity to shift Werner's sizeable wage packet off their books will be attractive. According to Bild, the forward is one of the Blues' highest earners on £270,00-per-week, which works out to a staggering £14million-per- year. And let's not forget that Werner will have three years remaining on his Chelsea contract after this season.

So by cutting their losses this summer, accepting that Werner's signing is simply not going to work out, the Blues can save themselves £42million. And that is going to be enticing for whichever group ends up being successful in their takeover bid in the weeks ahead.

Werner will always have the Champions League triumph to look back on. The UEFA Super Cup win to reflect upon. The Club World Cup victory to enjoy. His time at Chelsea hasn't been a complete bust. But, in his own words, things are no longer going the way he wants at Stamford Bridge. So it's time for a change.

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