If there is one truth to cling to amid relentless speculation over Timo Werner’s future it is this: the striker won’t be joining Liverpool before Thursday’s deadline.
Beyond that, however, mapping out the future of one of Europe’s hottest properties becomes slightly trickier.
According to reports in Germany, RB Leipzig recently granted their star man more time to decide his next move, relenting on a January deadline they had previously imposed in the process.
But with Werner’s contract expiring in 2020, he won’t be allowed to extend this period of contemplation beyond the summer.
At that point, the 22-year-old must put pen to paper on a new deal that Bild allege will contain a €70m release clause relevant to a select group of clubs - Liverpool among them.
Otherwise, he will simply be sold to the highest bidder before the 2019-20 campaign gets under way.
But, while sources at Anfield continue to deny interest in a move for Werner either this month or in the summer, Leipzig are right to expect that stance could change in the coming months.
Firstly, it would be remiss of the Reds’ scouting staff were they not following a player of his profile closely.
The Stuttgart-born forward has netted 45 goals in 82 Bundesliga games for Die Bullen, can play anywhere across the frontline, is young enough to improve, and plays a high-energy brand of football that will be familiar to anyone who has ever watched a Jurgen Klopp team.
What’s more, Liverpool look set to have a vacancy open in the centre-forward department come the beginning of next season.
It seems, then, that everything is set up for the Reds to plug that gap with the acquisition of Werner.
Only they aren’t planning such a swoop - not for now, at least.
And it seems unlikely that a player of Werner’s pedigree would be similarly content to feed on scraps behind Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino should he leave Leipzig with the idea of furthering his career.
In theory, rotation could provide the Germany international with regular action, but even those opportunities would be limited by the presence of Xherdan Shaqiri and imminent return to fitness of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Furthermore, Klopp already has someone in mind for the aforementioned opening of back-up striker: teenage sensation Rhian Brewster.
The German isn’t simply paying lip service when he speaks about the 18-year-old’s big future at Anfield; he truly believes he can become a key part of the first-team squad once fully recovered from ankle and knee surgeries.
Much, it seems, will depend on his pre-season audition under the watchful eye of Klopp.
For that reason, bold declarations about Brewster’s role, or indeed Liverpool’s requirements in that position, should be avoided at this early stage.
And so ruling the Reds either in or out of a swoop for Werner at this point would be unwise, no matter how unsatisfactory the status quo.
Source: Evening Standard
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