Thomas Tuchel's clear Dortmund message plots Chelsea transfer path to Erling Haaland saviour


Maybe it rubber-stamped how low Timo Werner's confidence had got at Kenilworth Road that after he slotted home Chelsea's desperately needed equaliser, he turned and ran back to the halfway line.

Little sign of a smile or easing of pressure, you would have almost assumed he'd put his effort wide. This was Werner's first Chelsea goal since the tap-in against Chesterfield in the third round of the FA Cup. Before that, you had to go back to November 23rd against Juventus, a similarly simple tap-in.

Probably the best part of the finish against Luton on Wednesday was the feeling of precise execution. The run, the expert pass from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and well-placed finish. The equaliser and winner, for which Werner set up for Romelu Lukaku, looked efficient and straightforward, two adjectives you could not prescribe to the German this season.

Even simple things have appeared tricky for Timo. The narrative surrounding his first year in Blue apportioned a lot of blame onto bad luck and fine margins, given the number of offside calls against him. The second year has unravelled that narrative. Bad luck feels a less logical excuse and more fundamental questions over his skillset must be asked.

Bought for nearly £50m in June 2020 from RB Leipzig, only seven Premier League goals from 46 appearances reflect the steep underperformance from one of Europe's hottest strikers in 2019. According to Goal, Werner's representatives will meet with Chelsea officials in the coming weeks to better understand Tuchel's plans for their client before deciding on their next move.

The report states that if talks don't go well, a move to Borussia Dortmund could happen, with the Bundesliga club keen to bring Werner back to Germany. Dortmund could also be on the brink of selling Erling Haaland as his release clause comes into effect this summer.

 A host of top European clubs are expected to be after his signature, and Dortmund will likely be looking to reinvest that potential money quickly.

The sale of Haaland, in addition to Chelsea's openness to cut their losses with Werner, might give the Blues an easier way out for someone they only signed two years ago.

"Timo played very well," Tuchel said after the game. "I am happy about that and the fact that Romelu got his goal. That is why we left them on the pitch. "These matches are, at the moment, the most important matches for them, even if they think they should have played this match or that match."

Werner has a better chance to end his 84-day wait for a league start at Turf Moor on Saturday against Burnley. His last came in the win over Leeds in December, but the writing has been on the wall.

 Not only has the forward desperately struggled to impact things on the pitch, his creeping slide to the fringes of Chelsea's uncertain attack is even more damning when you consider how uncertain that area has been this season.

His flaws were still on show against Luton. A poor first-touch, lack of physicality and bizarre decision-making. The goal and two assists on the night still clashed with moments of complete inaccuracy and that will be tested to a greater extent in the Premier League.

Tuchel is right to praise Werner, and Chelsea supporters have consistently, to a fault, offered him as much patience as possible. But it looks highly doubtful this situation can be greatly salvaged from here.

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