The emergence of Kai Havertz at Chelsea is no surprise to those who were aware of the talent the wunderkind has, but a surprise to those who dissed him when he was struggling. Many dismissed Havertz after a slow start to his Premier League career, dubbing him just another poor transfer by the profligate Chelsea side. They never really got it that this supreme talent would excel once he got his feet under him for several important reasons.
What some so-called cognoscenti of football never really seemed able to grasp was that the young German had multiple mega-challenges to overcome when he signed on for the Blues and crossed the channel to England. He is seemingly ready to burst onto the Premier League scene as the star he was supposed to be. Havertz’s recent Man of the Match performance against Everton, a top side in the EPL, is indicative of what Chelsea fans will see in the future.
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Do you think Havertz is ready to have a big breakthrough for the Blues?
Among the issues previously reported, the young star had to confront: arriving in a new country during a pandemic situation, dealing with a totally new culture, having to perform in a new league and joining a completely new team, knowing probably only two players in the squad. Further, he was faced with getting a new coach midseason, as well. Those challenges alone would be enough to confound and test even the most seasoned player, never mind a 21-year-old. To make matters worse, he also contracted COVID-19, the disease that has been a menace to the entire world since its emergence in late 2019.
No one, not even the preeminent physicians, virologists and infectious disease experts, can predict how this disease will impact every individual. We are all aware of how devastating it can be to older individuals, especially those with underlying conditions. The toll on those people who contracted the disease has been devastating and this menace is indiscriminate in who it threatens: young, old and all of those in-between. It certainly took its toll on Havertz.
The young German was stricken and it took a huge toll on his body, so he struggled after coming back into the team. It was obvious that he had an issue with his stamina. His work rate was dramatically constrained by the after-effects of this disease. Yet, the instant observers were quick to pounce on his less than inspiring performances to vilify the Chelsea establishment for their flawed transfer decision-making in securing the most costly transfer in the club’s history.
Lo and behold, Havertz started against a very strong and aggressive Toffees side and he absolutely excelled at the No. 9 position. He was the Man of the Match—yes, he was that good. It was crystal clear that the pace, explosion and ball skills we’re back. In short, the German international showed he was healthy and also why the Blues had moved wisely to secure his services. Even then, this is just the beginning.
Havertz’s best position in this writer’s opinion is elsewhere, behind the forward attackers. That will be the best position in which he will be able to display his talent most effectively. Thomas Tuchel has other fabulous talents to add to Havertz’s ability in Olivier Giroud, Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner. Havertz’s talents can best be used elsewhere to much better effectiveness, but he needs to be on the pitch, regardless of his position. A 4-2-3-1 placing Havertz in the No. 10 role could see him raise his game to another level though.
It’s a great situation for Tuchel if he can unlock these attacking powers in the squad he inherited from Frank Lampard. One thing is certain, however, whatever formation or personnel selections he makes in the future, Havertz should be included.