Just over 24 hours after it was confirmed Chelsea had reached an agreement with Timo Werner and his club Leipzig for his transfer, subject to a medical, Frank Lampard had his say on the striker who is lined up as his latest recruit.
The boss, speaking at his first pre-match press conference in over three months, revealed conversations he has had with the 24-year-old and how those impressed him, and also about the competition Werner will bring to the squad. But first Lampard revealed his long-term admiration.‘He is clearly a player we’ve liked,’ he began, talking on a club level. ‘I have followed him for a long time myself, just as a talented player, even before I had this job.‘As a club, clearly we went for him and he will certainly strengthen us in my opinion. He has huge talent, he has had a fantastic season this year but before that as well. Where we couldn’t do as much business in the last couple of windows for whatever reasons, it has given us the chance to see some youth have more time in the team but we were very clear that we want to improve, and Timo Werner is a signing we feel will improve us.‘I am certainly very excited to have him playing for Chelsea. We look forward to having him. We have obviously got games to encounter now to try to finish this season well but we do look forward to having him for next season.’
Werner has been strongly linked to other major clubs across Europe including Premier League leaders Liverpool, and Lampard said it is a question for the player himself as to why he opted for Chelsea, but he did emphasise how hard we have chased his signature.‘We worked as hard as we could and I had conversations with Timo personally where he understands what I want to do here with the club, how we work and how we play.‘It seems like it came across as a really exciting project for him because he obviously had some very good options. We are happy for that and it was very joined up at our end how we went about it. We are just pleased that Timo has decided to come to us.‘He is the type of player and the type of profile we are looking at. Players that come here and have a big impact hopefully. We have to give him a bit of time to adapt. We know the Premier League is a slightly different animal to all other leagues in football. The talent I think Timo has and the work ethic and his personality and humility really shone through to me when speaking to him, so I am very excited to have him in all senses.’
Lampard emphasised that with this unusual transfer window and games calendar due to the pandemic, we have to hold our breath slightly on completing the transfer as the medical is to come and RB Leipzig still have Bundesliga games to play, and there is also the irregular situation of some existing squad members at many clubs needing to sign short-term contracts if they are to see out the season.Willian and Pedro are two such cases with their current contracts running out at what would normally be the official end to the season.Lampard has some sympathy in general for an individual who does not see a new short-term deal as the right decision for his own future, but added:‘As a club, if we are trying to extend contracts for players over that period, we want them to stay. It is well documented we have a couple of those conversations that are ongoing and we have until next week to find the solution hopefully, because it will be great for us to finish the season with the squad we started this campaign with, and with the quality players we are talking about.’
With a new striker coming in, Lampard considered the question of whether he has felt the need to talk to Tammy Abraham about Werner.
‘I have spoken to Tammy before about the idea of competition and I don’t feel the need to have to address every player if a player comes in who might contest their position at a club like Chelsea, because that is what it is all about. It has been about that in its most successful years.
‘Tammy has had a very good season for us this season and has to sustain and improve on that because at Chelsea we have demands. I am happy to have options and we have options in forward areas. We must have competition for places and I am pleased with the idea of that.’