Timo Werner: A sign of loyalty or a delaying of the inevitable?

That’s the way you announce a contract signing. After weeks and weeks of procrastination, the revelation that Timo Werner had signed a new contract with RB Leipzig was made as his name was read out for the starting line-ups prior to Sunday’s home clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.

The crowd’s reaction was predictably and understandably euphoric and the 23-year-old put the icing on the cake by opening the scoring for Leipzig in just the 10th minute of the game. A perfect day then for die Roten Bullen, who collected their second win of the season on the same day as their talismanic striker agreed to stay.


But there is a but.

While Timo Werner has put his name onto the contract laid in front of him in Oliver Mintzlaff’s office, there is still a little cloud hanging over the whole affair in the eyes of some Leipzig fans and observers of the game. Everyone is saying the right things, but the fact remains that the player was waiting for Bayern Munich to come in for him, and only really committed to RB when the Bavarians stalled too long.

“We’re happy that the negotiations with Timo Werner have had a positive outcome and that he’s agreed to extend his deal with us” Director of Football Mintzlaff announced.

“We had plenty of intense conversations over a long period of time and we really worked hard to try and meet each other’s demands. We’re happy now to have the clarity we’ve been looking for and we’re excited to have Timo be an important part of the squad for many years to come.”

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Sporting Director Markus Krösche added, “Of course we’re incredibly happy that Timo has decided to extend his deal with us and that he will continue to play for our great club.

“It’s a very positive sign for us and it also emphasises our goal of tying our key players down long term and permanently establishing ourselves in the Bundesliga. Of course, it was a big decision for him to make and so we gave him all the time he needed.”

The German international striker himself showed no signs of being hugely disappointed that Bayern Munich didn’t make a move for him this summer and was full of similar platitudes.

“I’m happy to have signed a new deal with RB Leipzig. Of course, this process has been going on for a very long time, but I wanted to be completely sure that it was the right decision for me to take the next steps in my career with this club.

“And for the right decisions you just need a little longer. Now I can fully concentrate on playing with our team and on having as successful a season as possible.”

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Werner has signed a contract which runs to 2023, but few people genuinely believe the ex-Stuttgart striker will still be leading the Leipzig attack in four years’ time, despite the pledge of loyalty and positive soundbites.

Reports claim that a minimum release clause of just €30 million has been written into the new contract. With Werner’s actual market value lying in the region of €65 million, it would seem clear that he has pledged another 12 months of service to Leipzig in return for the opportunity to join Bayern (or Liverpool perhaps) next season if they are still interested.

Lothar Matthäus writing in his column for Sky believes Bayern should and will still seek to bring Timo Werner to the Allianz Arena. “Of course, I do not know exactly how big the interest of Bayern was, but I think he would have stood up well with the club” the former Bayern captain wrote. “His speed and versatility he would have been a guaranteed reinforcement.

“Werner now has a fixed transfer fee and I actually would not be surprised if Bayern continues to strive for him. Obviously, the parties were not as united as they had been rumoured for a long time. In my eyes, he is, and will remain, a potential Bayern transfer.”

So, Timo Werner has finally put pen to paper at RB Leipzig, but signing a new contract and ‘committing your future’ to a club are two very different things.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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