Tottenham Hotspur’s capture of Timo Werner from RB Leipzig has certainly been a major talking point from the January transfer window.
Signing on an initial loan with an option to buy, it’ll be fascinating to see how the former Chelsea man will fare, with optimism high he’ll be a fine fit for Ange Postecoglou’s ultra-attacking team.
Hopeful this will be the platform for him to rediscover his best, the German’s clearly excited about the prospect of linking up with the Aussie tactician. “The manager straight away gave me the feeling that I needed to join the club, and the way the team plays fits me perfectly,” he explained.
“I hope I can be the best player I can be here. I can play every position in attack. When I left the Premier League I missed it because it is the best league in the world. When I joined my old club, I said I wanted to be a winner and in the end we won the Champions League, so it should not be too bad to say I come here to win titles.”
Having only made four starts under Marco Rose at Leipzig, he understandably jumped at the chance to join Spurs, who are in need of some offensive reinforcements especially as star man Son Heung-min is away at the Asian Cup.
If Postecoglou can weave his magic like he’s done with so many of his players, there’s no denying what a force to be reckoned with Werner is when confident and at the peak of his powers.
Blessed with searing speed and a master at timing and directing his marauds in behind and down the channels, he’s so effective at stretching backlines and placing doubt in the minds of opponents.
Great at reading the play, gaining separation before setting off and waiting for a teammate to see him with the ball on their preferred foot, Werner shrewdly pounces to get an edge.
Noticing gaps on the blindside of markers, between defenders, if an opponent has stepped up and if an adversary is ball watching or preoccupied, this aspect of his armoury is a massive asset.
Familiar with playing or rotating into central and wide areas, this should suit Ange’s fluid system, where his pace, unpredictability, 1v1 prowess and execution of his depth runs should hold him good stead to shine no matter where he’s deployed.
Capable of pulling apart backlines vertically and horizontally, which also has the added bonus of manufacturing room for others to exploit, watch for him to be a nuisance with his movement.
Clever to use dismarking techniques to gain separation such as stop gos, zig zags, dummies and engaging in opposite movements, this adds to his menace (particularly when surging into the area).
Whether in strategic, coordinated build-up play or on the counter attack, there’s no doubting what an impact he can have in the right framework and when happy.
Over his career, Werner has also shown that he can competently drop deep between the lines to connect play to ensure he’s dangerous either side of the opposition backline.
In such situations, his low centre of gravity, underrated strength, fleet feet and awareness mean he can hold the ball up and engage in some tidy combining play (something he especially displayed prior to his Chelsea move).
Despite his passing not being the most effective element of his game, it’s important to note that he can still strike some incisive through balls in the air and on the ground, concise crosses and cutbacks to feed runners and combine tidily with lay offs and flicks (as mentioned above) to elevate his threat.
To keep on the theme of his technical ability, and while his instinctive finishing skills have served him well in the past, he’ll definitely be eager to return to his pre-Chelsea level, where he was a weapon on his way to wreaking havoc on Bundesliga backlines, for he’s had some struggles in this regard in recent times.
Spurs will be hoping Postecoglou’s high-octane framework will help him rekindle his scoring touch, grant him a heap of opportunities and restore his belief.
Giving Spurs another quality option going forward to reinforce their offensive ranks and vitally able to play wide and centrally, it’ll be intriguing witnessing if the determined forward returns to a level resembling his best.
Ticking many boxes of what Spurs need and as good a deal as possible in the January window, another bonus is that he should have little worry settling in due to him knowing London from his stint at Chelsea.
“Timo was at a point where he was looking for something to change from his current status and moving was one of those options,” Postecoglou insisted.
“I thought Timo would be a good fit for us stylistically. He certainly has the attributes we look for. He can play all three positions [across the front line] which adds some real depth for us and quality in the front third.
“What happened in the past is not relevant. He’s at a good age, has national team aspirations, wants to play at the highest level and this club offers him that opportunity.”
Excited to rise to the challenge under Postecoglou, determined to prove himself in the Premier League and with one eye on making Germany’s Euro 2024 squad, motivation will be high for Werner to do everything in his power to stamp his mark.
Only time will tell, if he, in fact can, but positively many things appear to be in his favour that he’ll make it work at Tottenham.