Chelsea have made the loudest noise in the COVID-affected transfer market, with six signings already over the line and at least one more addition to the team, at goalkeper, looking very likely.
Out of all the signings, Kai Havertz was the most anticipated. It took Chelsea months of negotiations to get one of the most coveted players in the world. Not since Eden Hazard in 2012 have Chelsea made such a statement signing.
Frank Lampard does an excellent job in keeping a straight face on most occasions in front of the microphone, be they joyous or serious, but his excitement is palpable as he speaks about his new signing, which almost seems like a personal victory for the manager.
“Kai is a really exciting signing for myself and for the club first and foremost. He is a player I have been aware of for a long time and as a fellow attacking midfield player, I have paid particular attention to those type of players for some time.
“I was aware of his talent and in conjunction with the club, we know how we want to go forward and look to improve in the right areas, and for players who are going to be here hopefully to improve and mature, but are already at a very high level, he absolutely fitted the bill for us, so I am delighted to have him.”
Goal scoring ability? Check. Playmaking ability? Check. Runs inside the box? Check. No wonder Havertz draws relentless comparisons to Lampard, the greatest goalscoring midfielder ever
seen in the Premier League (ed.note: FTFY). Lampard acknowledges the comparisons but also highlights some minor differences in their respective skillset.
“It is very easy to make those comparisons. I know he is hungry to score goals and make assists so I have already had those conversations with him, but I do think we are quite different in our styles.
“Kai can probably start in more forward areas than I started in. I liked to come from deep as a midfield player, and a lot of Kai’s really good play in the last few seasons as he has broken through at Leverkusen has been in a slightly advanced no.10 role, or slightly wider areas or more in a striker kind of area of late.”
Havertz is often described as a player with practically limitless potential — “generational talent” — to go with a stable head and the will to improve every day in training. Those traits would be selling points for any coach, let alone Lampard who himself showed similar qualities during his playing days.
“On his personality, I have been absolutely overwhelmed with how humble and down to earth he is, and how well he wants to do here, and how he is very excited with the challenge. He wants to come here and be a top player for Chelsea, and really prove his talents on this stage.
“That to me has been one of the most exciting things, not just to be excited about him arriving as a top talent, but to see his mentality as he has come in. That gives a really good feeling about how his career is going to be at Chelsea.”
Chelsea’s attacking signings all have one thing in common, versatility. Werner can play as a center forward as well as on the flanks. Ziyech can play out wide and also occupy central areas behind the striker. But Havertz one-ups them both, since he can play as a striker, winger and can even occupy deeper positions without much drop in quality.
Lampard is looking forward to utilizing this versatility as a tactical weapon, also tryng to keep expectations in check. After all, Havertz is still just 21, arriving in a new country, and with a humongous price tag. He is likely to be closely scrutinized in the most watched league in the world.
“The versatility is something we will certainly use. It is refreshing as a manager when you have a player come in who can play in different positions and also wants to play in different positions.
“He has great talent on the ball, his productivity is brilliant in terms of goalscoring and assists , and physically he is great in terms of how he can get around the pitch, and talking about his size we are comparing him to Michael Ballack. All those things come together but I emphasise we do need to give him time, but I am really excited about what he can do.”
-Frank Lampard: source: Chelsea FC
Sorry, Frank, but we can hardly stop brimming with over-excitement at the prospect of watching Havertz begin his journey at Chelsea