Chelsea are set to sign £90m Kai Havertz as Frank Lampard looks to add the goal threat from deep he used to provide himself – here’s how he’ll fit in… and could it mean the end of Ross Barkley’s Blues’ career?
- Chelsea are set to sign Germany star Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen
- They are the only club willing to meet his massive £90m release clause
- An attacking midfielder, Havertz will provide Frank Lampard with goals
- Havertz is likely to operate as a No 10 in a 4-2-3-1 for Lampard’s side
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that certainly seems to be the case with regards to Chelsea and the transfer market.
After a few years of adopting a more restrained transfer policy, certainly compared to the Manchester clubs and Liverpool, Roman Abramovich and his board have bust out of their year-long transfer embargo with all guns blazing this summer.
Having already spent £90m on RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner and Ajax winger Hakim Ziyech, they are determine to land Werner’s Germany team-mate Kai Havertz, and are reportedly the only team willing to pay his £90m release clause despite interest from Real Madrid.
Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz is set to leave the club this summer for Chelsea
Defensive reinforcements are expected too, with a left back and possibly a centre-back coming in, but the fact Chelsea are going all in for Havertz speaks volumes of Frank Lampard’s opinion of the player.
A former attacking midfielder himself, Lampard has spotted in Havertz the goalscoring threat from deep that the club have lacked since his departure in 2014.
Despite operating in a different role than Chelsea fans can expect Havertz too, Lampard remarkably hit double figures for Premier League goals in 10 consecutive seasons from 2003-04 to 2013-14.
Of Chelsea’s current crop of attacking central midfielders, Mason Mount has the most Premier League goals with six, with Ross Barkley has just one. Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been injured most of the season but cannot be expected to come straight in and fire the 15 goals from midfield that Lampard wants from his No 10.
Frank Lampard wants to add goals from deep and hopes Havertz can do just that for Chelsea
So the Havertz deal makes a lot of sense. Lampard may have to change his set up to more of a 4-2-3-1 to accomodate Havertz as a No 10, or Havertz may have to get used to playing deeper than he has been at Leverkusen to slot into a 4-3-3. Either way, the 6ft 2in left-footer should provide the goals Chelsea have been lacking from deep, and his arrival would mean one or two may be moved on.
The man most likely to be shifted out to make way for Havertz would be Barkley, who shows flashes of his ability from time to time, but at 26 has not developed into the top class attacking midfielder Chelsea were hoping he would. With Havertz starting, academy products Mount and Loftus-Cheek can provide cover, with all three capable of operate out wide too.
Behind him, Jorginho looks to be on the way out as Chelsea try and balance the books, meaning Lampard could sit Mateo Kovacic alongside N’Golo Kante.
Ross Barkley has scored just one Premier League goal for Chelsea this season
How Chelsea’s midfield and frontline could look if Havertz joins Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech
Havertz has also been used on the right by Leverkusen, where he can cut in on to his left foot, and could see action there under Lampard, allowing Mount or Loftus-Cheek to play in the middle. How much he plays there though will depend on the future of Willian. If Willian signs a new contract, with the Brazilian and Ziyech battling it out for a start on the right, it is more likely Havertz will be used centrally.
Another option for Lampard would be using Havertz as a frontman, as Leverkusen did effectively towards the end of the season. His physical presence and aerial ability make him a more than competent striker, and playing there would allow Werner to operate off the left flank as he has done so often for RB Leipzig. With Christian Pulisic in such great form though and Callum Hudson-Odoi pushing him for a start, again all roads point to Havertz as a No 10.
What the German will certainly give Lampard is flexibility. As with Werner and Ziyech, he is capable of operating in several forward positions and in several systems.
Wherever he plays, Havertz’s Bundesliga goal returns of 12 and 17 in the last two seasons are Lampard-esque, and he could soon be playing for the man himself.
Frank Lampard was a prolific goalscorer in Chelsea’s midfield for over a decade