It has emerged that Chelsea are now frontrunners to sign Timo Werner, ahead of Liverpool. The Mirror report that they have offered the RB Leipzig striker a contract worth £200,000 per week, which underlines how highly Frank Lampard rates the forward. Last week, I analysed why Liverpool should sign the German international. His goal involvement and underlying numbers clearly rank him as one of the best and most consistent players in the Bundesliga. For a deeper analysis, please go back to read that piece here.
At Chelsea, he will be expecting a greater amount of first team football, as their attacking line-up isn’t as feared as the one he would have had to compete with at Anfield. One player who will be paying close attention to this development is Tammy Abraham. The England international has emerged as a promising Premier League striker, with a return of 13 goals and three assists so far this season. He has scored once every 149.5 minutes, which is an excellent return for his first full season at Stamford Bridge.
The underlying numbers, taken from fbref, underline the threat that he does pose in the final third. Abraham has been one of the best at getting shots away this season, averaging 3.4 shots per ninety minutes. Only Gabriel Jesus (4.56), Sergio Aguero (4.45), Mohamed Salah (3.86) and Raul Jimenez (3.48) average more, which shows that the Chelsea striker has established himself as one of the most prolific shooters in the league.
His quality is emphasised further by his non-penalty expected goals (npxG), as he ranks fourth in the Premier League. Abraham has a npxG of 12.2. This suggests that his goal scoring is sustainable, with the England international regularly getting into scoring positions. However, the one big criticism of him this season has been his wastefulness in front of goal.
Abraham has missed a total of 17 big chances in total. Only Roberto Firmino (19) and Gabriel Jesus (18) have missed more. This has been a worry for Lampard, as he has regularly spoken about a lack of clinical edge in his team. This wasn’t individual criticism of his starting striker, but his numbers do suggest that this is an area of his game that needs to improve.
His tally of 13 goals shows that he is scoring slightly above the rate that would be expected, but to become one of the best in his position, he needs to be more clinical with big chances.
The added competition of Werner, should the move go ahead, could provide further motivation for Abraham. He would have a quality striker to compete with and there would be an opportunity to learn from a player who is a proven finisher. There would also be a possibility for Lampard to partner them together in attack. Although this would not be his plan every week, the club legend has been willing to experiment with his tactical set-up.
As the Premier League is weeks away from a return, there will now be increased scrutiny on Abraham’s performances following the Werner news. In 2020, he has scored only once in seven matches across all competitions, albeit he did suffer with injuries before the break in play. Chelsea will be trying to secure Champions League football and their homegrown striker is key to delivering that.
Next season, it has already been confirmed that Hakim Ziyech will be playing at Stamford Bridge. Wener is likely to follow in the coming weeks. Abraham needs to prove that he deserves a prominent role in that next step.