Few players have generated as much excitement this year as Kai Havertz.
The 21-year-old was a joy to watch in the Bundesliga, helping Bayer Leverkusen secure a third consecutive season of European football. He scored 19 goals while adding nine assists, finishing as Die Werkself’s top scorer for the second year running. The eyes of Europe were upon Havertz, and rightly so.
As the season concluded, the race to sign the German youngster unfolded with serious competitors. Bayern Munich were eager to add another exciting talent to their ranks, continuing to bring the best German players to Bavaria. Real Madrid also held a keen interest, potentially eyeing the attacker up as their next Galáctico.
But in a battle which seemed too close to call, it was Frank Lampard’s Chelsea who emerged victorious.
What began as a rumour escalated into a real possibility, with all signs soon pointing down Fulham Road. Despite potential concerns over spending – the Blues had already splashed £83 million on forwards – the opportunity to sign Germany’s most exciting starlet was one too sweet to turn down.
Havertz’s move to Chelsea is a long-awaited deal, one which has been in the works for a matter of months. Lampard had to be patient and fight hard to bring the youngster in, fending off Bundesliga and La Liga interest to even get near to him. But his persistence has paid off: Havertz is finally a Chelsea player.
When you watch Havertz play, it is easy to see why Europe’s finest clubs were queuing up. His grace and intelligence on the ball is phenomenal for a man who only turned 21 in June, making him a deadly asset going forward. While he was at the heart of Bayer’s attack, his linkup play and partnerships with teammates was where he excelled.
Bayer benefitted from Havertz, and Havertz flourished at Bayer. Seventy-seven goal contributions in 150 appearances gives for remarkable reading, for the boy who had been at Leverkusen since he was 11. Ten years on, his rise to the top is complemented by his countless age-breaking records in Germany.
Becoming Bayer’s youngest ever player to play in the Bundesliga – and soon after their youngest goalscorer. Making his Germany debut at 19-years-old. Becoming the youngest player in Bundesliga history to earn 100 league appearances. For every record that stood in his way, Havertz smashed it in comprehensive fashion.
Chelsea should not only be pleased that they won the race for Havertz; they should be ecstatic.
Havertz can bring so much to an already incredible attack, though competition will be fierce. Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner are fellow arrivals looking to cement their place in the squad, while young players Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi have proven their worth breaking into the first team.
A pessimist sees too much competition for too few places, an excessive abundance of expensive stars blocking off academy products. But an optimist sees squad depth. Rotation. A wealth of attacking jewels to choose from, flexing forward muscles Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain would be proud of.
Although places are limited, it is Havertz’s versatility which makes him such a valuable asset to Lampard. This season alone, he played as a striker and a right-winger, alongside his suited position in attacking midfield. He can play across midfield and attack – having even played as a defensive midfielder – excelling wherever he is placed on the pitch.
Versatility is just one of his key attributes, and in a squad where Havertz will need to be able to adapt and shift, his traits perfectly fit Lampard’s system. Chelsea have gone between several formations this season, something which will not cause any concern to the versatile attacker.
His fast-paced, eccentric style of play is exactly why he was a target in west London, fitting flawlessly into the Blues’ setup. He is a smart player, one with excellent passing ability and a real eye for goal, as proven by his form at Bayer Leverkusen. It is a match made in heaven, the perfect agreement for both parties.
At just 21, Havertz has so much more development ahead of him, but the early signs are stunning. He needed a top club to help him grow into a world-class player and fulfil his potential, and with Lampard and Chelsea’s project, the future looks promising. England is where he needs to be, while competing at the highest level in the Champions League.
Everything about Havertz’s game suits the Premier League perfectly. The fast pace, the need to adapt and change quickly, the physicality. While Havertz will need time to address the final criteria in particular, he will be a force to reckon with once he truly finds his feet on English shores.
It still seems surreal that Chelsea have signed Germany’s most talented youngster in years, a player lauded by many and worshipped by some. The price to pay may not be kind on the eye, but when spending this kind of money for a star of Havertz’s calibre, there cannot be any complaints. It is a magnificent signing from Chelsea, and a brilliant move for the German.
Something special is being built at Stamford Bridge, and Havertz was the natural choice to integrate into the youth revolution. The time has come for him to move onto pastures new, and as he steps foot onto Fulham Road, it is time for Kai to show what he can do.
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