Clubs interested in RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner have less than two weeks to make their move if they wish to try and sign him for a fixed price - as his release will soon expire.
Werner has established himself as one of Europe’s top forwards this season, taking his game to another level and scoring 31 times in all competitions so far. That includes four in four games since last month’s return of the Bundesliga from its coronavirus pause.
Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea are all monitoring the German, and the existence of a release clause in his Leipzig contract had served to make the 24-year-old an even more attractive proposition for potential suitors - although the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis will cause plenty of clubs to think more carefully about their business.
Werner’s €55m (£49m) release clause expires on Monday 15 June, as confirmed by Sky Sports on Wednesday, though will fall next summer if he remains with his current club.
The player himself is most interested in joining Liverpool, as confirmed by 90min and ESPN in recent weeks, though Liverpool are not willing to pay the release clause at present. The Reds remain interested but are unlikely to pay up before the deadline and are seeking a cheaper deal - perhaps a negotiating ploy in order to lessen their outlay.
Chelsea and Manchester United have held talks too, with Werner’s overriding preference to join a Champions League club where he will play regularly. Both clubs are aware of his primary desire to play for Liverpool, and as such have other targets too.
Chelsea are looking at Werner as a potential alternative target to Lyon striker Moussa Dembele. The Frenchman’s future is not dictated by a fixed fee and any approach would require potentially difficult and lengthy negotiations with Lyon.
United, meanwhile, confirmed an extension to Odion Ighalo's loan deal earlier this week, solving the problem of depth at centre forward for a short while and giving them the opportunity to focus on signing Jadon Sancho. It allows them to address the position at a later date.
An interesting development relating to Werner's release clause is that a new one at a lower £36m is active as of next summer. That could actually see clubs prepared to gamble on being able to secure a cheaper deal if they are willing to wait a year, by which time coronavirus and its impact on football cash should hopefully be consigned to the past.
The Telegraph notes that letting the current release clause expire beyond 15 June with a view to exploiting the lower £36m option in 2021 could also provide clubs with a foundation to negotiate a fee with Leipzig this summer that is somewhere between the two figures.