Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have set their sights on Stuttgart’s exciting 18-year-old Timo Werner according to reports in German sports paper Bild.
Werner was born within a stone’s throw of the Mercedes-Benz Arena and has been with the club since he was six years old, progressing through the youth ranks before his 24 goals in 23 appearances for the under 19’s propelled him into the first team set up where the 18-year-old has sprung to prominence.
He became Stuttgart’s youngest ever player, aged 17 and 148 days, when he made his first team debut in a Europa League qualifier against Bulgarian outfit Botev Plovdiv and the Germany U19 international made his Bundesliga debut in the clubs first home game of the Bundesliga against Bayer Leverkusen. Werner capped off a magical six weeks when he became the clubs youngest ever goalscorer when he found the back of the net against Eintracht Frankfurt in September.
The 18-year-old went on to feature heavily throughout the remainder of the campaign making 30 league appearances, including 16 starts, scoring five goals as well as contributing four starts as Stuttgart finished 15th in the Bundesliga.
Although he came through the youth ranks as a central striker, Werner has operated from the left hand side at the Mercedes-Benz Arena and has impressed with his trickery and pace leading to the winger signing a four year deal with his boyhood club to keep him with Stuttgart until 2018.
That contract has failed to prevent other clubs from being interested in Stuttgart’s precocious talent however and clubs across Europe having been keeping a keen eye of the German youngster throughout his breakthrough season with Bayern reportedly interested in taking the talented forward to the Allianz Arena.
Bild report that while Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg are also known to be interested, Bayern officials have been tracking Werner for the past twelve months and that while the youngster may be fiercely committed to his boyhood team an offer from Bayern may be too much for club and player to resist.
Whilst Werner’s prospects of first team football in such a dominant Bayern outfit will undoubtedly be limited should he move this summer, he may well be viewed as a more long term prospect by coach Pep Guardiola who will be wary that current first team stars Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are not getting any younger at 31 and 30 respectively whilst the future of backup wide man Xherdan Shaqiri has also been a source of much speculation.
Standing at 5ft 11in tall and with surprising upper body strength despite his tender years there’s every chance that Werner will eventually end up back in the role of central striker in which he has excelled throughout his junior career and with Mario Mandzukic set to depart this summer there will be little in the way of central striking options for Guardiola outside of new signing Robert Lewandowski and home grown star Thomas Muller.
Such versatility could aid his prospects of first team football with Bayern and though many will feel his development would be best served with the guarantee of first team football provided by the club he has supported since being a boy the pull of Die Bayern may prove too strong.
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