LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea manager Frank Lampard says he is excited about the club’s signing of striker Timo Werner from RB Leipzig but his immediate focus is sealing a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Germany international Werner will join Chelsea next season after the 24-year-old opted for the London club rather than Liverpool who had appeared favourites to sign him.
“He is clearly a player we’ve liked,” Lampard told reporters in a virtual news conference ahead of Sunday’s clash with struggling Aston Villa — Chelsea’s first game back after the three-month Premier League shutdown.
“I have followed him for a long time myself, just as a talented player, even before I had this job. He will certainly strengthen us. He has huge talent, he has had a fantastic season this year but before that as well.”
Werner moved to Leipzig in 2016 from Stuttgart and has since scored 93 goals and grabbed 40 assists for the team.
His move to Chelsea is a major coup for the club.
“It seems like it came across as a really exciting project for him because he obviously had some very good options,” Lampard said.
“He is the type of player and the type of profile we are looking at. The talent I think Timo has and the work ethic and his personality and humility really shone through to me when speaking to him, so I’m very excited to have him in all senses.”
Young striker Tammy Abraham has been a revelation for Chelsea this season and Lampard said Werner’s arrival will increase the competition for places.
“Tammy has had a very good season for us this season and has to sustain and improve on that because at Chelsea we have demands,” he said. “I am happy to have options.”
Chelsea are in fourth spot as they enter their last nine games of the season but Lampard knows his side must hit the ground running to cement their place in the Champions League.
“We’ll have to go full throttle,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to be done. Lots of competition for the top four but we are in that battle and we are very honest about it. We have to be at our best to make sure we amass enough points.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar