The German international has been in fine form for Bayer Leverkusen this season, notching 12 goals and six assists in 30 Bundesliga games. That form has drawn interest from a host of top European clubs, one of which is Chelsea.
While Havertz’s ability in the final third, as both a finisher and creator, will benefit Chelsea, he will also go some way to rectifying an issue the club have in transition.
As the Reddit user TommyPhong96 noted, Chelsea’s build-up play against West Ham was almost exclusively out-wide, with very little play through the middle of the pitch.
N’Golo Kante was the team’s pivot that day, and while he is not considered an exceptionally brilliant passer of the ball, the lack of action involving him, and options in the final third ahead of him in central areas is a concern.
Chelsea’s play was forced down the flanks through Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso and that in turn limited the space and options for the team in the final third, which made it easier for West Ham to defend in a narrow block.
An ability to pick the ball-up between the lines is key, and that’s where someone like Havertz could be so influential for Chelsea.
The 21-year-old is a versatile attacker able to play in the number 10 role, upfront, or wide-right. That would afford Lampard several options in attack, with Havertz able to play in a withdrawn role, as part of a front two, or ahead of midfield as a lone forward.
In the past, Havertz has drawn comparisons to former Chelsea favourite Michael Ballack as well as Toni Kroos. Interestingly, the player himself cites Mesut Ozil as an inspiration, and that is certainly the type of player that Chelsea could benefit from.
“It’s safe to say that I copied a lot from him. I just like how he plays,” Havertz told Sport1.
A glance at the numbers from this season also indicates how Havertz has been able to find space this season. When compared to Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic, he not only receives more passes per 90 minutes (37.27) than Mount (25.95) and Pulisic (25.54), (source: Twenty3 Sport). He also completes more through passes per 90 minutes (0.53) than Mount (0.2) and the American (0.33).
Both Mount (33.94) and Pulisic (33.58) attempt fewer passes than Havertz (45.10) per 90 minutes. Their passing accuracy is also inferior when compared to Havertz’s 87.15%, with Mount second with 84.9% and Pulisic at 80.78%. The German’s ability to float between different roles and positions on the pitch makes him the perfect facilitator for Chelsea’s attack, serving as a conduit in transition.
That aspect will be key when Hakim Ziyech is introduced. The Moroccan international works best out wide, but has that same versatility to his game. Lampard could easily deploy Ziyech in a deeper role with the intent of finding Havertz in the final third.
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He could also move either man into the half-space to create overloads down the flanks, much in the same way Pep Guardiola has used Kevin De Bruyne.
Whether he plays most like Kroos, Ballack or Ozil, one thing is clear, and that’s that Havertz is one of Europe’s finest young prospects.
The Chelsea rebuild has already started in bold fashion with the signing of Ziyech and Werner. Adding Havertz into that mix would not only be another show of ambition from the Blues, but also the first step to Lampard rectifying a final-third issue before it becomes a major problem.