Chelsea’s summer spending was a throwback to the early days of the Abramovich Era, and it’s perhaps fitting that one of our biggest signings, Kai Havertz had been dreaming of playing in the Premier League since those heady days, when he himself was just barely starting primary school.
Havertz is certainly part of a generation that grew up with Chelsea as constant presence at the top of the game, both in England and Europe, so it’s not at all surprising that he would associate the Blues with said dream.
“I was dreaming as a kid to play in the Premier League and for Chelsea as well, a very big club and one of the best in the world. I’ve always dreamed of playing in a league like that and for me the dream came through very early. I’m just 21. Of course I watched the Premier League as a kid, very often with my family and with my parents.
“Now it seems a bit unreal for me and my family that I am sitting here at a club like Chelsea. I’m very looking forward to it and hopefully, it’s a very good time for me.”
Of course, the first thing that will be mentioned when talking about Havertz isn’t going to be his footballing ambition, but rather his price tag, which makes him Chelsea’s second most expensive signing of all time. While he has no control over that, it does create immense expectation, especially combined with his label of "the finest German youngster of this decade".
Fortunately, Kai’s not putting any extra pressure on himself to perform. He has plenty of pressure to deal with already!
“Of course, it’s a big price tag, but I think in football today it is normal to pay these prices. For me I will not put a lot of pressure on myself because I think I am doing not the best or the worst because the price tag is that high.
“I am trying to focus on football and trying to play my best football here in Chelsea and not put pressure on myself. I’m just playing football, I love to play football. That’s why I’m here. I’ll try my best.
“I am just very happy to be here now. I think it took very long [to do the deal], but now I am here I am very happy to be here and I think I have settled in very well.”
So far, each new arrival has talked about Lampard's importance in signing for Chelsea, and Havertz wasn’t going to be left out of that club, especially as a player who shares many positional, stylistic, and statistical similarities with his new manager.
“I watched many games of him as a kid. He also liked the way I play as a midfielder – to go in the box, to score goals and make assists. I think that helps a lot to have a manager who played such a long time in the Premier League and the national team.
“He can give me tips and I think he will help me a lot to become a better football player, a better midfield player, so I am very excited that he is my manager now. For me it’s a perfect step to come from Leverkusen to the Premier League."
It's quite noticeable that all our attacking reinforcements, including Christian Pulisic have positional versatility as a common trait. While it's not necessarily a great thing to be a jack of all trades, all of them can occupy multiple positions, theoretically without a major drop in performance levels.
“I played, I think, every offensive position at Leverkusen. I played as a right-winger, a No 10, a No 6, No 8 – sometimes as a striker as well. But for me it is very important to have that flexibility on the pitch and to be creative, those are the things that I like.
“I think I can play many positions, of course for me my best position is as a No 10, but I can play on the right side as well or as a striker. To be honest, I am happy to stay on the pitch and I think I am flexible.”
In his debut, Havertz was deployed as a winger but seemed rather constrained by the manager’s instructions, not to mention a host non-matchfit players, plus the usual spectre of having to adapt to a new league — the “Toughest League In The World”, as the Premier League likes to advertise.
That tag may be overplayed quite a bit when judging players, but it's not completely baseless, especially for young players like Kai. There is a sort of relentless physicality to the league that must be learned and adjusted to.
But there’s nothing that should make us think that Havertz couldn’t adjust and adjust quickly, and he doesn’t think so either.
"It’s very different to Germany but I’m looking forward to it and I think on Sunday it will be the first improvement for me.
- Kai Havertz; source: Goal
How about a left-footed screamer into the top corner against Liverpool on Sunday to announce your arrival?