The Germany international is yet to find a spark in English football, but his manager at Stamford Bridge is prepared to be patient
Kai Havertz’s slow start to life at Chelsea is “no problem” to Frank Lampard, with the Blues boss eager to point out that “some of the greatest players the Premier League has seen have taken time to succeed”.
The Germany international playmaker moved to Stamford Bridge in a £70 million ($95m) deal during the summer transfer window.
Amid links to leading sides across Europe, the talented 21-year-old decided that a new chapter in his career would be opened in England after opting to head through the exits at Bayer Leverkusen.
Chelsea were considered to have pulled off quite a coup in acquiring a hot prospect, but they are yet to see the best of a youngster who has been held back by injury and Covid-19 issues.
Lampard still believes that Havertz will burst into life, with the Stamford Bridge legend aware that foreign imports can take time to settle in the demanding surrounds of Premier League life.
The Chelsea manager told reporters of Havertz ahead of a London derby date with West Ham on Monday: “I think 4-3-3 suits him. Before his Covid period he was playing very well on the right side in the number eight position for us and I think he can play various positions for us, but of course consistency in a position is sometimes a good thing and that’s what I want to get for him.
“When you look and you really analyse what’s happened here, Kai came in without any form of pre-season, just started to play really well early in the season and gets Covid, and now comes back and all eyes are on him because of the price tag. But I think we must have huge perspective here.
“Some of the greatest players the Premier League has seen have taken time to succeed in the Premier League. I’m not saying it will take a long time for Kai, but I think we have to give him a bit of time to settle in on and off the pitch, and that’s what’s happening. I’m very happy with him, I’ve got no problem with him, but for Chelsea fans and for us we must give him time.”
Havertz has slotted into an attacking unit that Lampard wants to mix up at times, with Chelsea looking for their forwards to be fluid and switch positions on a regular basis.
“That’s my decision,” added Lampard.
“It can happen sometimes in games depending on how the game pans out. They can cross over and stay in that position for a while until they can cross back. Those are my decisions because I have players on the wings that can play both sides.
“Not all of them – Hakim Ziyech clearly is more of a player who plays on the right. With Timo [Werner], he can play left and right of a front three at his previous teams. The same with Christian [Pulisic], he played right and left for Dortmund and did the same for us last year.
“Sometimes you feel you can give the opposition a problem. When Christian moved to the right against Wolves, he dribbled into their box and went on a mazy run, created a few things. I like to have the option to change them at times.”