Former Liverpool left-back Christian Ziege has had his say on some of this summer’s potentially big transfer sagas in an exclusive interview with CaughtOffside.
The 48-year-old, now manager and sporting director of fan-owned Austrian club FC Pinzgau, admits he was surprised when Timo Werner ended up moving to Chelsea instead of his old side Liverpool.
The Germany international had been notably tracked by Liverpool before winding up at Stamford Bridge, and Ziege says that, while he can see the logic in the move for the player, he thinks it’s a decision Jurgen Klopp and co. could live to regret.
MORE: Exclusive: Christian Ziege on his new venture with fan-owned FC Pinzgau, plus life at Liverpool, Tottenham and Middlesbrough
“At the first place I was thinking ‘why is he going to Chelsea? And why is Liverpool not trying harder to get him?'” Ziege told CaughtOffside. “But I think Chelsea is working through big changes and making progress through (Frank) Lampard … bringing in good new players, good young players, having success at the moment in the Premier League.
“So it might be the right decision for him. If you come to Liverpool you have (Roberto) Firmino, (Sadio) Mane, (Mohamed) Salah, and it might be really difficult to get a place.
“Liverpool obviously have good forwards, fantastic forwards, (but) at some stage it has to be changed … get another good player to push those guys who are there. Every story ends at some point. The bigger the success you have, the more you have to think about the next step.”
Ziege, who spent a season at Anfield in 2000/01, had another kind of warning for LFC regarding Thiago Alcantara. Whilst admitting he’s a big fan of the Spain international, currently at another of his former clubs Bayern Munich, he gave an intriguing response when asked about rumours linking him with the Reds.
“I have to say I love this player – he is a fantastic player but I’m not sure he fits into the Premier League and the Klopp style of playing,” he said.
“I think where he is, Bayern Munich, is a good place for him. Or maybe a Spanish team. I’m not 100% sure (about joining Liverpool), although he is a fantastic player so he will handle it somehow. I’m just not 100% sure it’s right for him.”
Ziege also spoke about another big talent coming through in German football, Kai Havertz, who has established himself as one of Europe’s most exciting young attacking players at Bayer Leverkusen.
When asked if Havertz could do well to follow Werner to Chelsea, however, Ziege suggested he would do well to be patient about making the leap to his next club.
“If it comes to the future I would say yes (to a Premier League move), but for now I would tell him to stay another season at Leverkusen and prove for another season that he is a fantastic player,” Ziege said.
“He is so talented, but I would tell him to stay another season and then make a big step. But it’s difficult to say that from outside, it might be that going to Chelsea is good for the reasons we talked about (with Werner).
“You see Werner for example, he did a fantastic job, was growing up at Leipzig, getting confidence … so this is what Havertz maybe needs as well, the surroundings he has now, and then maybe try to make the next step.”