Liverpool’s hopes of signing Timo Werner could be hampered by travel restrictions relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
A report from German media outlet Sport Bild stated that Reds manager Jurgen Klopp is keen to meet with the RB Leipzig striker in person ahead of a possible transfer bid for the 24-year-old. The Daily Mail claimed that Klopp is aiming to activate the £51m release clause in Werner’s contract before 15 June, the date on which that clause expires.
However, with the prevalence of COVID-19 prompting the announcement of UK government guidelines to practise social distancing and refrain from non-essential travel, it currently seems doubtful that they will be able to meet face-to-face before mid-June.
According to Sport Bild, Klopp routinely likes to meet potential signings in person before deciding whether to push through a transfer or back away from a deal. That could open the door for Bayern Munich, who are also interested in the Germany striker, to beat Liverpool to the chase for his signature.
Werner’s scoring prowess has been on display throughout the season, with the 24-year-old racking up an excellent tally of 27 for RB Leipzig so far this term across 36 matches. He netted his team’s only goal in the 1-0 win away to Tottenham in the Champions League round of 16 and also set up a goal in the 3-0 win in the second leg, while a magnificent pre-Christmas sequence of scoring in seven successive Bundesliga games (netting 12 goals in the process) shows just how devastating he can be over a prolonged period of time when at his peak.
Indeed, during that seven-week period alone, he scored more goals in seven Bundesliga matches than Liverpool’s main centre-forward Roberto Firmino has managed (11) from 43 appearances in all competitions over the course of the season. Even allowing for the Brazilian’s tendency to drop deep and contribute to the Reds’ link-up play rather than remain static in the penalty area, that is quite a discrepancy between the two strikers.
Of course Klopp is wise to reserve judgement on a potential signing until he has met them in person and formed a reasonably sound verdict on a player’s character and how they would likely fit into the manager’s setup at Liverpool. However, Werner’s scoring statistics clearly mark him out as a potent centre-forward presence and it would seem a real missed opportunity if the Reds allowed Bayern Munich to steal a march on them in landing his signature.
Even if Klopp is left with no alternative but to arrange a lengthy conference call with the RB Leipzig striker to try and get a handle on his personality and his likely adaptation to the Liverpool squad, it’s a measure that the Reds manager ought to consider if a face-to-face meeting remains out of the question before mid-June. A virtual meeting might not seem as impactful as first-hand interaction, and Klopp could easily have gone down the conference call route in recent years, but Werner seems too good a player to let slip easily.
Liverpool fans, are you concerned that the slim possibility of a face-to-face meeting between Klopp and Werner could see the Reds miss out on the striker? Have your say by commenting below!