Chelsea star Timo Werner held a secret meeting with Liverpool to discuss a potential transfer a year before joining the Champions League winners, new documents have claimed.
The 26-year-old signed for the Blues in a £47.5million deal from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2020 after proving himself as one of Europe’s most potent strikers.
His return of 28 Bundesliga goals for Leipzig had put him only behind Robert Lewandowski in the 2019-20 season but, despite interest from Bayern Munich, he sealed a move to west London.
Werner struggled to replicate that form in his first season in England, scoring 12 goals and registering 15 assists in all competitions.
But he managed to find the net only six times in 35 Premier League outings and was beaten in the club’s goalscoring charts by Jorginho.
Werner had appeared to be on the verge of joining his compatriot Jurgen Klopp after speculation had linked the German forward with a move to Anfield.
However, the Reds decided against making an offer amid concerns over their finances due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the 2019-20 champions eventually opted to sign Diogo Jota from Wolves in a £41m deal, Werner opted to move to Stamford Bridge.
But new reports emerging from German publication Der Spiegel, who have in recent times published leaked financial information, suggests Liverpool had held talks with Werner.
The documents, as reported by Bild via Sport Witness, state that Liverpool made a concrete offer to the forward to negotiate personal terms.
It is said that there was even allegedly a ‘secret meeting’ between the player and Klopp at the beginning of 2019, at the height of speculation linking Werner with a move to Anfield.
How many goals will Timo Werner score this season? Comment below.
In that particular meeting, it is claimed Werner was offered a five-year contract of around €12m-a-year (£10.5m), equating to over £200,000-a-week.
Such a deal would have also included lucrative bonuses totalling €25m (£21m), according to the report.
In another twist, further information leaked from the report suggests Werner had favoured a move to Manchester United over Chelsea.
According to extracted WhatsApp messages published by Der Spiegel, reported by Sport Witness, the German striker had discussed a potential move to Old Trafford with his advisor Murat Lokurlu, describing the Red Devils as his “favourite”.
Chelsea, who were managed by Frank Lampard at the time, were apparently referred to as “super alternatives”.
It was Man United who had reportedly lodged the first offer for Werner’s services, trumping Liverpool’s salary offer with a package worth €15m-a-season.
However, neither move materialised and Werner remains a key part of Thomas Tuchel’s plans, despite being linked with a return to Germany with Borussia Dortmund.
He scored his first goal of the season in the 1-1 Carabao Cup tie against Aston Villa, where the Blues prevailed 4-3 in a penalty shootout.