Down The Wings

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Timo Werner Scout Report: Why Manchester United should sign the Chelsea Reject

(Photo by Luciano Lima/Getty Images)

Manchester United needing a new centre-forward in January while having very little money to spend has become somewhat normal in recent years. In 2020, United signed Odion Ighalo on loan from Shanghai Shenhua. In 2022, they signed Wout Weghorst on loan from Burnley and in 2023, Timo Werner may well be the man that Erik ten Hag turns to in order to strengthen his attack for the rest of the season. 

Date of Birth: 06/03/1996 (27)
Position: Centre-Forward, Left-Winger 
Strong Foot: Right
Height: 1.80m (5ft 10in)

Was Timo Werner a flop? 

Not too long ago, Werner was one of the most sought after attackers in European football. United were among the clubs who had the German forward on their radar during his first-spell at RB Leipzig. Fast-forward a few years, and his career hasn’t gone the way he probably imagined. Werner joined Leipzig from Stuttgart in 2016. After a very impressive period at the Red Bull Arena, Chelsea decided to spend in the region of €50m to bring him to London. 

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A lot was expected for Werner at Chelsea. However, the ex-Stuttgart attacker failed to live up to expectations. In the summer of 2022, Werner and Chelsea parted ways with each other. He returned to Leipzig for a fee in the region of €20 million. Funnily enough, at the time, it was reported by Samuel Luckhurst that United made an unsuccessful 11th hour attempt to sign Werner. 

His first season back at Leipzig was quite good as he found the back of the net 16 times in all competitions. However, this season, Werner played a mere 323 minutes in all competitions for Leipzig, the equivalent of 3.5 full 90s. The likes of Lois Openda, Yussuf Poulsen and Benjamin Sekso are all seemingly ahead of him in Marco Rose’s pecking order. 

Werner’s situation at Leipzig has caught the attention of Manchester United. According to The Athletic, United have made contact to ask about the potential cost of Werner. Stuttgart’s Serhou Guirassy, who is said to have a release clause in the region of £17.5m, could also be a potential option should United generate money from sales. Bayern Munich’s Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Thomas Muller have also been mentioned as potential options. 


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One of Werner’s strengths is his versatility. He can be deployed as a centre-forward, as well as on the left-wing and even on the right-wing if needed. 

In terms of his qualities, he has a lot that Erik ten Hag would want in a forward. The former Chelsea man is an excellent presser, and as seen this season, Ten Hag wants Manchester United to be an elite high-pressing team. In the 2022-23 Bundesliga season, Werner won the ball back in the final third 10 times and in total made 55 ball recoveries which is fairly impressive. In the 2019-20 Bundesliga season, his pressing stats were phenomenal — he won possession back in the final third 24 times and made a total of 84 ball recoveries. He’s also proved he can do this in the Premier League. He made a total of 79 ball recoveries and won possession back 15 times in the final third in the 2020-21 Premier League season, which is quite impressive. 

Werner is also very creative. In the 2022-23 Bundesliga season, he created 20 chances. In the 2020-21 Premier League season that number was even higher at 36 and in the 2019-20 Bundesliga season, the best campaign of Werner’s career so far, he created an impressive 53 chances. Werner’s dribbling ability is another one of his strengths — in the 2022-23 Bundesliga season he averaged 1.25 successful take-ons per 90. 


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During his time at Chelsea, Werner gained a reputation for being a poor finisher. His goal-scoring record in Germany is very good, but he’s actually often underperformed his xG (expected goals), which shows there is room for improvement in his finishing. 

In the 2022-23 Bundesliga season he scored 9 goals from 9.06 xG which isn’t bad, but also not anything special. However, his finishing during his time at Chelsea was really poor. In the 2020-21 Premier League season, his first in England, he managed to only score 6 goals from 11.4 xG which is quite simply not good enough. 

He’s also not the type of centre-forward that will pose any type of threat from set-pieces or crosses. His aerial presence is pretty much non-existent but considering United’s wingers rarely cross the ball into the box, this might not be a massive problem. 

Where would Timo Werner fit in at Manchester United?

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Should Werner join United, he’d likely share the burden of the centre-forward position with Rasmus Højlund. Since joining United from Atalanta in the summer for a fee which could rise to £72m, Højlund has shown extremely positive signs despite suffering from a lack of chances being created for him. That said, he is still extremely young and bringing in a more experienced centre-forward would take a lot of pressure off his shoulders. 

Werner’s potential arrival at United could massively benefit Marcus Rashford. The United academy graduate was sensational last season, but has struggled to find his goal-scoring form so far this season. Last season, United’s attack revolved around Rashford. Wout Weghorst, who was United’s no.9 for the majority of the second-half of last season, opened up about this in an interview. The Dutchman’s impact at United was extremely underrated. Weghorst said in an interview with the Mirror: “In Germany and Turkey, the teams always played for me. I was the end of the line, while at United I mainly had to ensure that others could excel. I think I managed that very well. But whichever way you look at it, I would have liked to score much more often.”

With a centre-forward like Werner, we could see Rashford re-discover his best form. The reason for this is when given space to run into, Rashford is unstoppable. While Werner isn’t necessarily the most physically imposing centre-forward around, he is very good at dropping deep and carrying the ball forward. When dropping deep, Werner could pull one or even both of the centre-backs out of position, which would create space in behind for Marcus Rashford to exploit. 

The dynamic with Højlund in the team is very different. Højlund is a penalty box striker who needs chances to be created for him. This means that the wingers have more creative responsibility, and that isn’t the system in which Rashford excels in the most. 


Compared to all the options that have been mentioned, Werner would be the best addition to United’s squad in January. While he has endured his fair share of ups and downs in his career, he has qualities that United could benefit from and signing him on a short-term loan deal, possibly even with an option to buy in the summer, would be a good piece of business. 

Founder/Owner of UnitedConstantly

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