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Timo Werner to Tottenham is the low-risk move both Ange Postecoglou and German talent need

Timo Werner to Tottenham is the low-risk move both Ange Postecoglou and German talent need

The winter transfer window is kicking off for Tottenham with Ange Postecoglou adding a forward with Premier League experience as Spurs have added German international Timo Werner on loan from Red Bull Leipzig with an option to buy for €17 million. A low-risk move, manager Ange Postecoglou is banking on his ability to turn Werner’s finishing woes around.

If this were a move done three seasons ago, it would seem like shrewd business but following two seasons with Chelsea during which Werner scored 10 goals and assisted nine in the Premier League before returning to RB Leipzig in Germany. He has only featured in eight matches this season scoring two goals, and it’s a move that comes with some risk which is mitigated by the deal initially being a loan.

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If things work out and Werner can rediscover his goalscoring form, then Spurs will be able to keep the 27-year-old in North London as Postecoglou’s team begins to take shape. If it doesn’t then Werner goes back to Germany and Spurs have a chance to use the summer to identify a long-term target. This is the perfect type of move to make for cover during international tournaments as even Werner has the motivation to do well with a spot at Euro 2024 for Germany on the line. Werner is also a willing presser off the ball to help create turnovers so that Brennan Johnson’s pace can be appropriately used in counter attacks.

With Heung-min Son away at the AFC Asian Cup, Manor Solomon recovering from injury and even Alejo Veliz currently injured, attacking cover is needed and Werner can deputize as a center forward or on either wing. With Richarlison currently playing as the point forward of the attack, the likely expectation would be for Werner to take on Son’s left-wing role while he’s away with South Korea and that spell could determine how Werner is used when Son returns.

A fit that’s good all around

This season Son has had to deputize as a winger and as a center forward but the results have been quite different depending on position. Playing through the middle, Son has scored nine goals and assisted two more while on the wing he has scored three and assisted three. Given some of the finishing issues of the front three for Tottenham — which Werner doesn’t particularly solve — keeping Son central as much as possible could be the way for Postecoglou’s men to challenge for a top-four spot.

Postecoglou’s attack is built on spacing and quick passing which is where Werner can excel. While his issues finishing chances are well documented, with Werner only scoring 12 goals from an expected goals of 21.10 in the Premier League and Bundesliga during the last three seasons, Werner can also play a pass from wide areas. With nine assists from an expected assist total of 4.18, if Werner is played with good finishers, he can become a provider after creating space by running the channels with his elite speed. 

Balancing passing with shooting is somewhere that coaching will need to come into play as Werner is a high-volume shooter but this is also a Spurs team that has taken the third most shots in the Premier League this season with 320 or 16 shots per game. Even if Werner continues to shoot at his standard rates, there is enough of the ball to go around that the other attackers will get their fair share.

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Good enough to secure Champions League soccer?

Alone, more than Werner will be needed which is hard to pull off during the January transfer window. Goalscoring isn’t much of an issue for Spurs as they’ve scored 42 goals which is the fourth-best figure in the Premier League behind Manchester City’s 45 goals. Only one point behind fourth-place Arsenal, Champions League soccer is in Postecoglou’s grasp during what was supposed to be a rebuilding season after selling Harry Kane to Bayern Munich. But if the defense doesn’t improve, everything will come crashing down sooner than later.

Mikey van de Ven is back healthy but Cristian Romero is injured yet again. With the Argentine center back spending almost as much time injured or suspended as he spends on the pitch, another transfer target on the radar is 21-year-old center back Radu Dragusin. The Genoa man and Romanian international is not only a threat from set plays be he’s also mobile enough to keep up with Postecoglou’s demands in playing out of the back. Being able to secure his signature may be easier said than done with Bayern Munich also in talks for his signature. Spurs have already agreed to personal terms with Dragusin but it will come down to the player’s decision.

If that deal comes to fruition to bridge the gap until the rest of the team is healthy, it just could be enough to secure an unlikely top-four spot.

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