Chelsea are reportedly keeping tabs on RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner and are understood to have contacted the German outfit to ascertain his release clause ahead of the January transfer window.
Werner, 23, signed a new contract until 2023 at the Red Bull Arena in August, but reported figures of his release clause have ranged from as low as £25.6 million up to £51.2 million, per the Telegraph's Matt Law.
The Blues are said to have enquired about Werner as they prepare to re-enter the market, with the club free to sign players again after having their transfer suspension reduced in early December. Chelsea were banned from registering new players this past summer for breaching rules on signing under-age players.
The chances of a winter transfer rely on the value of his release clause, though some doubt whether anything will materialise next month:
Kevin Hatchard 🎙⚽️ @kevinhatchard
Surprised to see Timo Werner linked with #cfc. Close to zero chance that anything will happen in January. He’s a key player in Leipzig’s title push, and they are still in the #UCL. He’s in the best form of his career, and if he stays he’ll boost his chances of leading GER attack.
Per Law, Leipzig have made it clear they have no intention of selling their star attacker. The club is two points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, and Leipzig will face another London side, Tottenham Hotspur, in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Werner ended 2019 with 12 goals in his last 10 Bundesliga appearances of the calendar year, attracting plaudits from Statman Dave as he spearheaded Leipzig's drive up the German top flight:
The Germany international has scored 23 goals and recorded 10 assists in 25 appearances across all competitions this term. He's netted 18 times in the league and is only one behind current top scorer Robert Lewandowski, the Bayern Munich frontman hunting his third straight Bundesliga Golden Boot.
Chelsea could be in the market for striker and wing reinforcements, with fringe frontmen Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud said to be available as possible makeweights to aid their winter transfer drive.
Leipzig chief executive officer Oliver Mintzlaff recently told Kicker (h/t Get German Football News) Werner knows he can "join a big club sometime" but appeared confident he'd stay until the end of the season.
German journalist Manuel Veth highlighted the effect manager Julian Nagelsmann may have, with Leipzig strong contenders to win their first Bundesliga title in his maiden campaign at the helm:
Chelsea have relied on Tammy Abraham to steer them through a difficult period under Frank Lampard, but Werner comes with an added versatility that's seen him succeed on the wing as well as through the middle.
He's on track to challenge Karl-Heinz Korbel (602 games) as the Bundesliga's all-time appearance record-holder, having set a new best for youngest player to reach 200 appearances. That's one of numerous records he's already broken early in his career:
Bundesliga wingers Jadon Sancho and Leon Bailey—at Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, respectively—have also been strongly linked with a January move to Chelsea, per Law.
Werner will be wary of unsettling his place in the Germany squad ahead of UEFA Euro 2020 and seems likely to remain in Germany until then, though that may not stop Chelsea pushing their interest this winter.