Liverpool have lost out to Chelsea in the summer pursuit of RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner, with an unwillingness to meet the 24-year-old’s release clause the decisive problem for the Reds in a summer where big spending on transfers has become difficult.
The Premier League leaders were never expected to do major business in this year’s transfer market that would have required shelling out unaffordable huge sums on heavily linked high profile individuals like Kylian Mbappe or Jadon Sancho (sorry Liverpool fans).
Back in January, David Ornstein wrote for The Athletic it is ‘probable that neither Sancho nor Mbappe will end up at Anfield for the foreseeable future’, describing Liverpool as having ‘little interest’ in spending the kind of money it would take to land such players.
Part of that stance is an unwillingness to dismantle existing front three Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino just yet, meaning no new signings are guaranteed starts. But while that situation, as well as cost, killed the chances of a dream Mbappe or Sancho deal, Werner was thought to be the one that was just about within reach, ticking plenty of boxes.
In the end, the cost was still too much to stomach in the current climate. 90min explained last week when cracks in Liverpool’s pursuit were beginning to show that the Reds had warned Leipzig they wouldn’t be pressured into triggering the full £54m release clause.
Liverpool were instead eager to pay around £40m for Werner, hoping that their threat of pulling out, combined with the release clause dropping to £36m next summer, might push Leipzig to accept the lesser amount. Liverpool’s hesitation has ultimately been Chelsea’s gain.
The club’s immediate focus is reported to now be on the players they already have. Melissa Reddy writes for The Independent that the current priority for Liverpool is instead on securing new contracts for key defensive pillars Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker, as well as ‘reward’ other existing players who have been part of the explosive successes of the last two years.
Van Dijk is still under contract until 2023, while Alisson’s deal doesn’t expire until 2024, but offering improved terms will go a long way to protecting world class key assets.
Source : 90min