For those who do not fully know him yet, let me introduce him to you. He is Timo Werner and he came to his current club RB Leipzig, from the “Traditionsverein” VfB Stuttgart. To the German fans who whistle at him during German National Team games, shame on you.
To the RB Leipzig fans who can call him “one of your own,” the rest of us can only be jealous that you have this incredible talent at your club. Werner is a gem of a player and not just a future star, but a current star. Timo Werner is the real deal.
Werner reminds me of a young LeBron James. Critics once said: “He whines, he flops, he cries” among other things. What happened to young LeBron? After winning three NBA titles, most his critics are strictly “haters.” Werner, only 21 years young, is coming off of a fantastic debut season for Die Roten Bullen where he netted 21 goals (fourth in the Bundesliga) and played a large role in Leipzig finishing second in the league, as well as securing qualification for the Champions League.
To add to his already-impressive 2016-17 campaign, he also made his German National Team debut in the spring and was later selected to compete in the 2017 Confederations Cup. Germany won the Confederations Cup and in the process, Werner secured the tournament’s Golden Boot award with his 3 goals and 2 assists. He has accomplished all of this in less than 10 appearances for the German National Team. So where is the love? Or rather, the lack thereof?
Why people hate him:
He plays for RB Leipzig. Let’s be honest, that is the main reason. To make matters worse, he is an outstanding player for the club and his personal success has helped Leipzig become an overnight Bundesliga title contender, much to the dismay of German football fans everywhere.
Some accuse him of being a flopper or a whiner. which may go overlooked for some players, but most certainly will not for Werner, a young star who plays for the most hated of clubs. The player even got jeers from some spectators while wearing the national team shirt, something unheard of in German football.
Only time will tell whether people’s negative feelings towards Werner subside, for the moment though, wearing that Red Bull logo on his chest does him no favours. Perhaps helping Germany win back-to-back World Cups will soften the animosity towards him.
Why people love him:
If you are one of the few RB Leipzig fans, you love him because he plays for your club. If you are one of the many who wishes hell on Leipzig, you may never love him, but you certainly can respect him. Many of Werner’s performances during the 2016-17 season were nothing short of fantastic.
The numbers simply do not lie. Werner, Leipzig’s leading scorer, was lethal in attack as he and teammates Emil Forsberg, Naby Keita, Yussuf Poulsen and Marcel Sabitzer spear-headed the offence that scored the third-most goals in the Bundesliga last season, behind only Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
Unlike the Ousmane Dembele situation that is currently unfolding at Borussia Dortmund, Werner, despite interest from some of Europe’s giants, elected early in the transfer window to stay at RB Leipzig for the 2017-18 season. Many players would have jumped ship immediately at the possibility of playing for an elite Premier League club.
Werner instead decided to continue his development in Leipzig and experience the grandeur of the Champions League from the Red Bull Arena, a tournament that he helped bring there.
Why Manchester City?
Pep Guardiola loves new toys. Imagine what a Manchester City attack that included Timo Werner could be capable of. With his outstanding pace and tremendous on-ball skills, both of which allow him to find open space as well as quickly get past defenders, he could be an absolute dream addition for City.
Pep was almost ready to dump Sergio Aguero at the end of last season, so it should be no surprise when the Argentine star leaves Manchester, possibly next summer. That is the perfect time to bring Werner in as his replacement.
If Timo Werner were to go to Manchester City (and this is all pure speculation) I see him fitting into Pep’s system perfectly in both the 4-2-3-1 formation as well as an attacking 4-3-3. In the 4-2-3-1 Werner would play the role of the target man and lone striker.
The attacking midfield would consist of wingers Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne and CAM David Silva. Jesus is able to switch between multiple positions and is perhaps more dangerous as a winger than as a CF due to his pace, skill, and vision on the pitch. When playing as a winger it allows Jesus to be at his creative best.
De Bruyne is a passing machine who can find a player in open space better than just about anyone in the game. Silva’s patience, ability to read the game, and technical skill enable him to create both space for himself as well as the players around him.
These players are all experts at opening up a defence and finding passing lanes to teammates in scoring positions. Add Werner to this mix and you have a front four that has the potential to be something truly special.
Another formation that Guardiola could opt to use is an attacking 4-3-3. In this scenario, Werner would occupy the centre-forward position, flanked by wingers De Bruyne and Jesus. The midfield could consist of a number of combinations, but one that I like in particular would see David Silva again as the centre mid, and to his left and right, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling.
This places at a minimum, five players on the pitch at the same time, who possess great pace, composure on the ball, and who have an eye for finding the holes in the defence. Pep Guardiola’s teams are known for their offensive firepower and ability to control the tempo of the game. This lineup would certainly be no exception.
The main reason Guardiola might invite the 21-year-old German international to join his team would likely be because of his stellar production. If Aguero does exit, he leaves behind an annual double-digit league goal total, a mark he has never failed to reach in any of his six seasons with Manchester City.
Timo Werner would instantly fill the gap left by a departing Aguero, having already proven that he excels at finding the back of the net in one of the world’s top leagues.
It is only a matter of time before Timo Werner leaves RB Leipzig for the bright lights of Europe’s elite. It should be no surprise if he ends up playing for a certain Spaniard whose system could be the perfect fit.
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