With the news that Timo Werner will be moving on from Leipzig, the importance of RBL identifying their next steps to replace him becomes even more vital. In a previous article (LINK), I discussed some of the internal options that they could pursue in replacing him. This time, I’ll instead focus on external tranfers that could be a relatively direct replacement for Werner. These players all show the potential to be prolific goal-scorers, even if expecting a complete replacement of Werner’s performance is likely too much to ask. Instead I’ve focused on players who can fill the role within the RBL squad, especially those who like to cut in from the left.
Milot Rashica – Werder Bremen
I’ll start with maybe the most obvious name – Rashica’s already been linked with RBL in the past, though that interest was publicly downplayed. Rashica has been a rare bright spot on a poor Werder Bremen team, and fits as a direct replacement for Werner who likes to start on the left and then cut inside.
Lack of talent around him has driven down some of Rashica’s obvious stats – he has seven goals and five assists on the year. Despite that he’s had more impressive underlying stats – his 2.6 shots per game rank 9th in the Bundesliga. He’s also an accomplished passer, with 1.5 key passes per game (33rd in the league) and 1.1 accurate crosses (30th). If RBL ends up more dependent on Poulsen up front, it would certainly help to add an accomplished crosser of the ball.
Rashica should be affordable for RBL, with a release clause of $41M that decreases to $16M if Werder Bremen is relegated. There’s almost no doubt that Leipzig will be interested for either of those amounts – the question will be if they can offer the salary that other teams willing to match the release clause will be able to offer.
Myron Boadu or Oussama Idrissi – AZ Alkmaar
These two options are a bit more off the radar, especially in the case on Idrissi. Boadu is an extremely talented young forward who scored 14 goals in 24 matches in the Eredivisie this season. Boadu can play out left but is more comfortable as a center forward. His pace, finishing, and ability in the air make him an attractive target throughout Europe – the question would be whether RBL can afford to outbid other teams, and if they’re willing to do for a player that’s more comfortable in the center than on the left.
Idrissi isn’t as talented as Boadu, but could serve as a more direct replacement for Werner. He’s a bit tougher to project as a slam dunk effective player in Europe’s better leagues, but has shown enough to at least investigate. He contributed 13 goals and three assists this year, with impressive dribbling and passing. His crossing isn’t great and he’s not a threat in the air, but he could be at least a rotation player for Leipzig if they chose to primarily focus their spending elsewhere in the squad.
Marco Richter – Augsburg
Richter hasn’t had the strong performances in league play that others on this list, but was extremely impressive for Germany in the U-21 Euros – impressive enough that Gladbach was rumored to have put in a bid prior to this season. Richter has only scored four goals in the Bundesliga this year; the bright side is that he’s been able to generate 2.2 shots per game. His preference for the right-side may require others in the squad moving around, but the upside Richter presents could make him an attractive option for Leipzig.
Of these options Rashica serves as the best exact replacement for Werner, while Boadu has the most potential overall. Any of this group could improve the squad as they look towards a future without Werner – ultimately the question will be how much they’re willing to spend and who they’re bidding against. That becomes even harder to predict with the remaining uncertainty around many of the European leagues. This also assumes that RBL will look for a direct replacement for Werner – next time I’ll look at some potential options for improving the squad elsewhere.