Timo Werner has told RB Leipzig that he does not want to play in the Champions League quarter finals for them.
The Germany striker, whose £53million switch to Chelsea is expected to be announced later this week, only wants to play in Leipzig’s final three Bundesliga matches – and then switch to Stamford Bridge at the end of June.
The news is a blow to Leipzig, who knocked out Tottenham in their run to the quarter finals in March and will find out their quarter-final opponents when the draw is made next month.
The final stages of the tournament are set to be played in August in Lisbon.
But according to sources close to Werner, 24, the decision is his, because he does not want to risk any injury before starting his career with Chelsea.
Chelsea are set to sign Timo Werner from RB Leipzig
Leipzig have just three games left in their league season – at home to Fortuna Dusseldorf tomorrow, at home to Borussia Dortmund and then away to Augsberg on June 27 on the final day.
Chelsea will not finish their league schedule until July 27, and then will face Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie in August, three goal don from the first leg
The German international, who has scored 31 goals for Leipzig this season, under Fifa rules cannot play for Chelsea until the start of next season.
But by declaring that he will effectively stop playing for Leipzig at the end of this month, he reduces the risk of any injury that could jeopardise the deal – and gives himself more time to rest and prepare for the new campaign with Frank Lampard’s team.
Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann claims the deal has not been completed but is aware he is set to lose some of his key players.
“The transfer is not fixed, you have to emphasise that,” Nagelsmann told Sport1.
“I’m a coach with a realistic view and dreams.
“I’m aware that one or another highly talented player will leave us. It’s up to us, then, to find new players who can follow in such big footsteps.”