Chilwell backed to make Chelsea title contenders as Burley calls for left-back alongside Werner

Chelsea must be considered serious title contenders for 2020-21 if they are able to add a big-money deal for Ben Chilwell to one already being lined up for Timo Werner, says Craig Burley.

The Blues have agreed to trigger the £54 million (€60m/$68m) release clause which will free the prolific Germany international striker from his contract at RB Leipzig.

Liverpool had appeared to be leading the chase for Werner, while Manchester United have also been credited with interest, but the 24-year-old seems destined to head for Stamford Bridge.

Scroll to continue with content

That deal may not mark the end of an elaborate spending spree either, with Frank Lampard still scouring the market for possible additions.

An agreement for Hakim Ziyech has already been pushed through with Ajax, and Werner could be the next to arrive in west London.

Chelsea are also looking to further bolster their defensive options, with Leicester left-back Chilwell the next to top their wish list.

Former Blues star Burley believes the England international would be a shrewd addition, telling ESPN FC: "I think he [Lampard] showed enough last year to suggest that the players are responding to what he wants.

"Clearly now there is some confidence from the ownership because owners don’t spend money under managers that they’re not confident in.

"Ben Chilwell, I really, really like him.

"I looked at clubs in England that might need a left-back, I thought Man City who have got full-backs but are having a problem in that area might go for him.

"If Chelsea can get Ben Chilwell that would be a huge signing as well because he’s got unbelievable pace to get up and down that wing.

"When Lampard likes to play [Marcos] Alonso, it’s in a back three, he doesn’t like him as the full-back, he has to play [Cesar] Azpilicueta there, but he’s a right footer.

"Ben Chilwell will give them great balance down that left-hand side and if he can get those two signings on top of all those other players we’ve mentioned, Chelsea will be in the mix for it [the league title] next season, there’s not a doubt about it from me."

Chelsea Timo Werner
Chelsea Timo Werner

Chelsea have shown that they can compete with fellow European heavyweights when it comes to acquiring top talent, with Burley taking plenty of encouragement from the “essential” pursuit of Werner.

He added: "I think Liverpool clearly have the money but, as good as Timo Werner is and I think he's a brilliant player, he was a non-essential player for Liverpool.

"So therefore with the restrictions and financial hit that clubs have taken, they're only going to spend money if they absolutely need to.

"Now, Chelsea's need was more because Tammy Abraham has done a fantastic job but he's not a German international, he hasn't got the quality or flexibility that Timo Werner brings.

"So he was an essential signing for Chelsea and I think that's why they've pushed the boat out.

"[Roman] Abramovich has said 'Okay, we'll pay the release clause because we need this player, we want to get back to the top and he's essential for us'."

What to read next