On 3 September 2020, Chelsea took a huge step forward in its recruitment process, securing a £72 million move to bring Kai Havertz to west London. It felt like an eternity for Blues fans because it was for the better part of two months rumors, fees and false information was thrown out there. All that mattered at that moment though was the fact the deal was finally over the line. Further, it felt like Chelsea captured a young, world class talent that would drive the Blues toward success for years to come, the first since Eden Hazard arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2012.
A promising start was music to fans’ ears with Havertz scoring a hat-trick in the League Cup against Barnsley, but from there on it was downhill. Since that game, he has endured a battle with COVID-19, a 6-0 thrashing by Spain in the Nations League, two new managers, no consistent run in any of the Blues’ starting XIs and much more. This begs the question: what has happened and what needs to change before it goes off the rails?
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I am going to start my explanation with that we’ve seen in the past. This is young players not having an instant impact in the Premier League, such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry. So to say that Havertz will never adapt would be asinine, but there are reasons as to why it hasn’t panned out as of yet.
Under Frank Lampard, he had a good run in the team, starting 11 times in the Premier League and playing five of six Champions League group stage games. The problem was he didn’t play in the position that earned him his move to Blues, but rather as a No. 8 in midfield three or on the right wing, which left him isolated. Everyone knows that Havertz is a No. 10 playing behind the striker or playing a as second striker. That rarely came to fruition under Lampard, which he received criticism for both in the job and when he left.
Many thought when Thomas Tuchel was appointed it would be a breathe of fresh air for Havertz and it was. He played in his best position in the 0-0 draw against Wolves and look like he was fired up, driving the ball at the opponent and making good runs throughout the match. Since then though, he hasn’t started a game and has only made two appearances for a total of 20 minutes, being left out of squad because of undisclosed injury. In Tuesday night’s clash at Atletico Madrid, he came on with three minutes to go. The worrying part for many is it’s hard to see how Havertz is getting into Tuchel’s starting XI because of not only the formation that is being used, but because of the form of Mason Mount. Mount has been undroppable and with Tuchel opting to play two strikers, it’s hard to see where the German fits. Sure, you could play them both together. However, Tuchel has been of the poster child of the phrase “if ain’t broke don’t fix it,” which the likes N’Golo Kante and many more have become a victim.
Over £200 million of signings have been benched or used sparingly. Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell may be sold as result of this, but it’s imperative that the manager and the board do not give up on 21-year-old German wunderkind. The Blues’ biggest game of season happens on Sunday against Manchester United, and what better game could Havertz have an impact on. A certain No. 10 in red has made his presence known in this league, now it’s time for Chelsea’s to do the same.
The attacking talent in this Chelsea team is immense and it’s impossible to fit everyone in starting XI, but all the fans know that Havertz will come good if given a consistent run. His meteoric rise both in Germany and Europe have proved that. Let’s just hope he can reach his potential in a blue shirt, and not somewhere else. Time is on his side and it’s just down to taking advantage of that and leaving a lasting impression.
What’re your thoughts on Havertz’s first season in west London? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!