Postecoglou could unlock Timo Werner’s full potential at Tottenham


Timo Werner didn’t make the best impression at Chelsea. Signed for £47.5m in the summer of 2020, the forward was never able to replicate his goalscoring achievements in the Bundesliga for the Blues, returning to RB Leipzig after just two underwhelming seasons in the Premier League. Werner, however, will have a second chance to make a good impression.

Tottenham Hotspur are expected to complete the loan signing of Werner in the coming days with the option to sign the German international permanently at the end of the season. The transfer is certainly a curious one given Werner’s reputation for being wasteful in front of goal, but ‘Ange-ball’ could unlock the 27-year-old’s full potential.

Ange Postecoglou likes his Spurs team to play with vertical threat. The Australian coach favours speedy, direct attackers who can get in behind and stretch the pitch and Werner, with his raw pace, very much fits the bill. Tottenham Hotspur could be a better fit for Werner than Chelsea ever were for him.

Werner’s record for Chelsea – 23 goals in 89 appearances – wasn’t as bad as a lot of fans and experts made out, but it wasn’t the record of an elite level goal scorer. That’s what Chelsea paid £47.5m for the German to be and that’s why he was deemed a failure at Stamford Bridge. Werner was never likely to be that figure for the Blues.

For Spurs, though, Werner’s role will be a different one. Nobody expects him to be the replacement for Harry Kane. It’s not even certain that Werner will be deployed through the middle – Postecoglou might prefer to use the 27-year-old in a wider position where he can work the channels and provide a funnel into the attacking third. The expectations will be different for Werner as a Spurs player than was the case when he was a Chelsea player.

Postecoglou’s arrival in North London last summer prompted a profound change in ideology at Spurs. Under Antonio Conte, fans had grown weary of the dull, conservative football served up by their team. They were boring to watch. This season, however, has been a completely different story – Tottenham have arguably been the most entertaining team in the Premier League.

Spurs’ lack of squad depth has cost them in the first half of the season. Postecoglou enjoyed an incredible start to life in the Premier League, leading his new team to top spot after 10 fixtures, but injuries to key figures James Maddison and Micky van de Ven, among others, halted Tottenham’s momentum. They slid down the table as an unavoidable consequence.

With the January transfer window now open, though, Tottenham have the opportunity to add some much-needed depth, and this is what has presumably led them to the signing of Werner. The German international could make himself a first team figure for Spurs but is more likely to be in rotation alongside Brennan Johnson, Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski.

Recent reports claim Tottenham Hotspur are also close to securing the signing of Radu Dragusin from Genoa with Postecoglou keen to strengthen his defensive line. This could see Eric Dier moved out of the club with Bayern Munich believed to be interested in offering the defender a route out of North London. Dragusin is a young prospect, but would be an upgrade on Dier.

Werner, however, will be Postecoglou’s next restoration project. The Australian coach has already managed to get the best out of several players he inherited from Conte – see Richarlison, Yves Bissouma, Pape Sarr and others – and Werner could be next in line to benefit from Postecoglou’s restorative powers.

Author: Mark Hayes