RB Leipzig's Timo Werner would not have been good enough for Liverpool, according to Robbie Fowler, who insists the Chelsea-bound forward is far from the finished article.
Goal has reported that Chelsea have agreed to pay Werner's £54 million ($68m) buy-out clause, after offering the 24-year-old a contract worth £9m per season at Stamford Bridge.
Liverpool had initially been touted as the most likely next destination for the Germany international, who admitted back in February that Jurgen Klopp's philosophy would suit his style of play.
However, the Blues now look set to win the race for his signature ahead of the summer transfer window, while the Reds continue to feel the pinch financially amid the coronavirus crisis.
Fowler isn't too fussed that his old club have missed out on Werner though, and doesn't believe he would have found a place in Klopp's starting XI ahead of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane.
"I’ve heard the noise surrounding Timo Werner in recent weeks – but I’m not a big fan," the Liverpool legend wrote in The Mirror.
"I realise he’s a talented player, he has moments of real brilliance in matches that underline his quality, but I stand by this: is Werner up to the standard of Liverpool’s current front three? Not for me. Obviously my opinion will be put to the test next season if he does complete a move to Chelsea.
"There has been so much rumour around his intended destination for months now, with my former club at the heart of that, but most of the other big names in European football have been linked to him.
"I’ve also seen the meltdown from some Liverpool fans when they realised he’s probably not leaving RB Leipzig for Anfield after all. It makes it seem as though he’s a Marco van Basten, a world-class player who would walk into any side.
"For the life of me, I don’t know why. I’ve watched him a fair few times and there are things about his game I like and admire, but does he influence games consistently enough? Not for me. Does he match up to the players you are signing him to challenge and replace? Not at Liverpool. Maybe at Chelsea."
Fowler added on Liverpool's reluctance to meet Werner's price tag: "I’ve heard so many people complaining about Liverpool owners not splashing the cash, not diving in on Werner when he’s a ‘steal’ at £52m. Is he really, though?
"This is the reality – all those other clubs, Barcelona, Liverpool, Juventus, Real Madrid, Man City and United have looked at him and thought, in the current market, his release clause fee is too high. How do we know that? Because otherwise, they would have activated it.
"To be honest, I see a situation where Chelsea saw perhaps the only circumstance in which they would sign Werner. That they had to pay the release fee to get him – because other clubs wouldn’t.
"In short, they had to pay a massive premium to make him come to their club. We’ve seen it before with clubs struggling a tiny bit – they pay over the odds to get players. City had to do that for a while, Chelsea themselves too. At times, Liverpool have done that over the past two decades. It rarely worked for them."