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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Ex-Chelsea outcast Timo Werner fires warning to new Blues signing Christopher Nkunku

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Timo Werner has warned RB Leipzig teammate Christopher Nkunku that the pressure he’ll soon face at Chelsea is on “another level.”

French forward Nkunku, 25, is expected to head to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season to become co-owner Todd Boehly’s latest big-money addition, as Chelsea officials reportedly struck a £61million deal with Leipzig chiefs over the festive period. Werner made the same move in the summer of 2020, leaving Germany to join the Blues for £48m – only to return to Leipzig last July for nearly half of that figure.

The German striker struggled to get to grips with Premier League football and was heavily criticised for his lack of goals and under-par performances, something which Nkunku will hope to avoid when he moves to West London. “Everyone has to have their own experience,” Werner affirmed in an interviewer with Bild, opening up on his disappointing two-season stay.

“I had a very good first year, the second was so-so. I can tell him from positive and negative experiences, should he move. At a club like that, you don’t play like you did at RB Leipzig, because there’s even more competition – not only on a sporting level, but also on another level, in the mental area.

“You have to cope with that, and everyone has to find their own way. That’s why it’s the wrong approach to give others tips.”

Some would argue that the Germany international never got a fair shot during his time at Stamford Bridge, in which he bagged 23 goals across 89 games. Werner was a key player as Chelsea won the Champions League in 2021, alongside reaching the FA Cup final.

Following the arrival of club-record signing Romelu Lukaku that summer, however, his game-time decreased and Thomas Tuchel’s well-oiled system began to rust. Aligned with his upbeat personality, Werner still takes positives from his spell in the Premier League.

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Timo Werner and Christopher Nkunku are currently teammates RB Leipzig
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

“My time there has changed me a lot,” he explained. “It made me more mature, more reflective. And made me want to go abroad again at the end of my career. I still get a lot of letters from Chelsea fans or am addressed on vacation – almost always positively.

“I think they liked that I was authentic. I think it’s important that you can be who you are in football too. And you don’t always have to pretend.”

Werner is set to enjoy five more months as Nkunku’s teammate, with the France international currently recovering from an injury which forced him to miss the recent World Cup. A graduate of Paris Saint-Germain’s academy, Nkunku boasts 12 goals in 15 Bundesliga appearances this term, following on from the versatile attacker’s 20-goal haul over 34 games last season.

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