According to sporting director Simon Rolfes of Bayer Leverkusen, Kai Havertz has all the attributes to be “world-class” but was always likely to take time to settle in at Chelsea.
In September, the Blues invested a reported £ 72 million (€ 80 million) to carry the foreign German from Leverkusen, but he has so far struggled to justify the heavy price tag.
During a busy close-reason recruitment campaign, the attacking midfielder was one of many big-money signings, with compatriot Timo Werner – who arrived from RB Leipzig – also experiencing a tough start to life at Stamford Bridge.
Five goals and five assists were handled by Havertz, as well as 23 chances created (1.4 per 90 minutes) and five major chances created (0.3 per 90) in 25 appearances in 2020-21 so far.
For comparison, he posted 18 goals (0.43 per 90) during his final season at Leverkusen, nine assists (0.21 per 90), 84 chances created (1.99 per 90), 20 major chances created (0.47 per 90) from 45 appearances.
This term, Chelsea’s struggles on the pitch saw club legend Frank Lampard sacked and replaced by Thomas Tuchel, and Rolfes thinks it is unfair to concentrate solely on Havertz, whom he backs to demonstrate his true Premier League skills.
“It’s always difficult if you change the country and a little bit of a different style. That’s the same if we sign players. Some players need two days some guys need half a year. For example, to adapt from France, Moussa Diaby requires three-four months, while he played for PSG, to adapt to the Bundesliga.
When you sign players, you have to bear in mind that not everyone is straight from the first day.
I watched Chelsea from a distance a little bit, but it’s not just Kai or Timo Werner struggling a little bit, it’s also the team-they wanted more from the squad as a whole.
If it doesn’t fit in the team when you come in as a new player, that’s not so easy. If the team works and you move into the best position, it’s much better.”
For Kai, this is the process of adapting to England and the Premier League. There is no question that Kai is a great player and has all the potential to play at a world-class level, and while it may not be his best six months, in my view, there is no doubt.