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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Roman Abramovich has repeated favourite Chelsea transfer trick to make up for £140m mistakes

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Chelsea are on the verge of completing a deal to sign Timo Werner from RB Leipzig.

Blues head coach Frank Lampard has been looking for a quality addition to his front line since the failed attempts to land a striker in the January transfer window.

Moussa Dembele, Dries Mertens and Edinson Cavani were all considered, but Chelsea have settled on a move for Werner, and the Germany international is close to becoming the Blues’ second major summer signing after Hakim Ziyech.

Werner arrives with an enviable pedigree, having netted 92 goals in 155 appearances for Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side since joining Leipzig in 2016, and will hope to continue his outstanding form in the Premier League.

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The Blues are no strangers to big-money strikers arriving at Stamford Bridge, with the likes of Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata and Andriy Shevchenko all signed in the Roman Abramovich era.

Morata joined from Real Madrid in 2017 for £60million, after a successful loan at Juventus. But the 27-year-old joined Atletico Madrid on a loan deal last season after struggling to adapt to English football, and is set to complete a permanent move to the Wanda Metropolitano next month.

Shevchenko arrived in 2006 from AC Milan for £30.8million, a fee which was considered decent business for a striker with a reputation as one of Europe’s best forwards. However, the Ukrainian forward was used sparingly by Jose Mourinho in his debut season at Stamford Bridge, and only netted 23 goals in 77 games before rejoining former side Dynamo Kiev three years later.

Fernando Torres is another high profile name who joined from Liverpool in January 2011 for a British record transfer fee at the time of £50 million.

Abramovich was thought to be a key advocate of Torres’ arrival, with former Chelsea captain John Terry revealing that the Blues owner always asked about the striker before he was signed from Liverpool.

“He wasn’t in great form before those two goals [against Chelsea in November 2010], then he goes and scores the two against us,” Terry told Sky Sports.

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“From a Chelsea point of view obviously he was the one I hated played against. He always seemed to score at Anfield or at the Bridge.

“He was that kind of one player Roman always asked about, ‘is he tough to play against?’

“Yossi [Benayoun] was quite close to him and Yossi was at Chelsea and was like, ‘lads, Fernando is on his way’. And we were like, ‘no way, we’re absolutely going to dominate the Premier League and Europe for the next five or six years’.

“That was our thoughts from playing against him and seeing it.”

Despite being part of the squad which won the FA Cup and Champions League in his first full season, Torres largely struggled to live up to his price tag thereafer.

The Spaniard failed to replicate the blistering form he showed at Anfield which had made him one of the best strikers in the world at the time, and was loaned out to AC Milan and Atletico Madrid before sealing a permanent move back to his boyhood club Atletico.

Abramovich will know better than anyone about the pitfalls of a big money striker signing, but given Werner’s age and record in front of goal, Chelsea fans can be confident that their soon-to-be new forward will repay his transfer fee in the years to come.

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