Frank Leboeuf believed Timo Werner could have reached the heights of Germany’s great centre-forwards if he hadn’t lost his way at Chelsea.
Speaking on ESPN, Leboeuf admitted he had high expectations of the Blues summer signing before he arrived at Stamford Bridge.
So did many others, especially after witnessing his final season with RB Leipzig.
Werner’s £45m (Sky Sports) move to Chelsea didn’t quite work out the way everyone expected it to.
The 25-year-old managed 12 goals in 52 appearances but did also provided 15 assists.
His club contributions were enough to earn him a place in Germany’s European Championship squad, whose campaign kicked off last night against France.
Joachim Lowe’s side lost 1-0, with a central attacker clearly missing from their game plan.
Lowe opted to go without a traditional striker, something Die Mannschaft have typically relied upon in previous tournaments.
Leboeuf noticed Germany’s insufficiencies upfront and suggested that Werner might have been the answer to their problems prior to his debut Chelsea campaign.
“The generation that Germany had through all the years, starting with Gerd Muller, Jurgen (Klinsmann) and Miroslav Klose, you don’t see that kind of striker that we used to see with Germany,” said the former Blues defender.
“I thought that Werner at some point could be like a Gerd Muller in some way, but he lost so much confidence to his game.
“So, it’s hard to say if he can cope with the differences that those players I just mentioned showed during their career.”
What can Werner do?
Lowe did bring Werner on in the second France, but failed to impact the result at all.
Even as a starter for Chelsea, he rarely took the game by the scruff of its neck.
No longer the leading man in Thomas Tuchel’s forward line, the speedy attacker’s role is more about running beyond defences and stretching back lines.
With the Blues potentially closing in on Erling Haaland, Werner’s days as a focal striker might be behind him.