Michael Ballack has urged Chelsea to be patient with Kai Havertz despite the German’s slow start to life in the Premier League.
The 21-year-old joined the Blues in a £71million summer switch from Bayer Leverkusen, arriving at Stamford Bridge with high expectations.
But the attacking playmaker is yet to live up to his hefty price tag having scored just once in 18 Premier League appearances this campaign.
Though unable to contribute to the team as expected, Ballack predicts a bright future for Havertz as he backed the Blues’ No.29 to overcome this difficult period.
“It is important for Chelsea to understand that if you buy a player with that kind of potential, then you have to give him time, bit by bit,” the former Chelsea midfielder told Omnisport.
“He can be in that role and that the team can be built around him. At the moment there are too many players that fight for many positions. There are only a few players that are so to speak ‘untouchable’.
“Therefore, he now faces a normal competitive scenario. It just depends on him, if he is able to win it.
“He needs that will, but if he sees it and takes on the fight then he will be able to get that spot as he has exceptional football qualities. However, it is a different level than at Leverkusen and he has to live with it.
“At Leverkusen, they forced the game onto him with a lot of freedom. He didn’t have to chase the ball and was used to attack. He probably has some issues now with the rhythm. That means, the game is a bit different. He now also has to work back and work harder on pressuring the opponent.”
Havertz attracted attention from a number of clubs having after scoring 29 Bundesliga goals in 64 appearances in the space of two seasons for Leverkusen (18/19 and 19/20).
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In addition to adjusting to the style of the Premier League, the midfielder is reported to have suffered from long COVID and has been scuppered by injury setbacks this season.
The arrival of new manager Thomas Tuchel may come as a boost to Havertz, with many expecting the Blues’ boss to unlock the potential of Chelsea’s Bundesliga acquisitions.
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