A former Premier League player and now renowned football pundit has talked up Liverpool’s chances of signing Timo Werner, saying the Germany international “would love to” play for manager Jürgen Klopp.
The RB Leipzig forward has long been linked with a move to Merseyside, with recent reports stating he has a £52m release clause in his contract.
Reds manager Klopp has also reportedly spoken to Werner many times over the phone, and there are supposedly plans for a face-to-face meeting once coronavirus-enforced travelling restrictions are lifted.
Speaking exclusively to Mick Moran and Jay Pearson on The Kopite Podcast, Jan Åge Fjørtoft stated his belief that the influence of Liverpool FC, along with that of its manager, would play a big part in swaying Werner’s career decision.
He said: “The reason why I thought it was interesting with Timo Werner to Liverpool is of course the connection of Jürgen Klopp to Germany, and secondly that we should never underestimate the pulling power of a manager. I remember with Kenny Dalglish when he was at Blackburn, suddenly he got Shearer, Chris Sutton — he got a lot of players going there.
“For all of us money is important, but we also want to have fun and improve as players. Dortmund and Liverpool also have the pulling power of their stadium, the atmosphere, the history, but it’s also important the pulling power of the manager.
“For a German player, playing for Jürgen Klopp is No.1. Timo Werner would love to do that. We spoke to people in Germany and they said Timo Werner would love to play for Jürgen Klopp.”
Fjørtoft also claimed his sources had told him that interest in a deal is not only one-sided, as Liverpool FC have been exploring the possibility of making a move for the 24-year-old.
“Liverpool, we know from different angles, have checked that out, and then of course we had the interview where he kind of said ‘please come and get me, I would love to play for Liverpool Football Club’. I was amazed.
“”I think the team atmosphere at Liverpool is fantastic, and that’s one of the main strengths of the football club, but you need competition for places. Werner is a young German, if he gets the chance to go to Liverpool, he should.
“To go abroad to play, broaden yourself as a human being and as a player and to have Anfield as your home ground, that must be the dream of most footballers. I think Liverpool have a great chance to get him.”
With 21 goals and seven assists in the Bundesliga so far this season, and as many goal contributions as Bayern Munich marksman Robert Lewandowski, Werner is hot property and the Reds are far from the only European heavyweight considering splashing the cash for the former Stuttgart trainee.
Bayern themselves have long been considered as a potential destination — Fjørtoft admitted that current manager Hans-Dieter Flick wants to find a place in his team for Werner, but explained that Manchester City’s Leroy Sané remains their prime attacking target after they missed out on him last summer.
“Werner was told by Bayern Munich ‘now we have Lewandowski, and we think you are too good to be sitting around on the bench’. Now, they have a new coach, Hansi Flick, and he said ‘I can find a way to get him into the team. He can play left outside, right outside — he can play around Lewandowski’.
“So Bayern Munich is probably on again, to try to get him, but we know they are very into Leroy Sané. Just before I talked to you guys I read from a great source that Flick had talked for 30 minutes with Sané, so I can’t see them taking Sané and Werner. I can see them taking Sané and Havertz, who is a [Michael] Ballack type of player.”
However, the ex-Norway international, who turned out for the likes of Swindon Town, Middlesborough and Barnsley during his playing days, conceded that the ongoing coronavirus crisis and its long-term effects makes it difficult to predict what will happen.
“£52m for Timo Werner before the virus sounded like a good deal, a very good deal, but now coming out of this what does that do to the funds available and to the owners in America? How much are they hurt? Or maybe Leipzig will say they have to sell their best players.
“It’s so hard to say what will happen post-corona.”