2022 has been a testing year for Chelsea: penalty shootout defeat in both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup at the hands of Liverpool; the departure of long-time endeared owner Roman Abramovich; the dismissal of Champions League-winning manager Thomas Tuchel.
And now the west London giants languish in eighth place in the Premier League 14 matches into the 2022/23 campaign, with manager Graham Potter, signed from Brighton & Hove Albion in the early stages of the season, tinkering away at a fix for the issues the side are beset with.
Having scored just 17 goals in the league – the lowest tally of any side in the top half – Chelsea have unsurprisingly been linked with a host of striking talent to slot into the fray.
Regardless of the issues, Chelsea are tenacious and determined, and still jam-packed with an abundance of supreme talent; it is a matter of time until the cogs fall into place and the Blue machine is whirring once again.
One player of high quality who can make a defining impact is Kai Havertz, with the forward returning from a disappointing World Cup campaign with Germany, who exited in the group phase for the second successive tournament.
Despite Die Mannschaft’s subpar Displays, Havertz impressed in his solitary start against Costa Rica, scoring two goals and serving as the offensive focal point, recording a stunning match rating of 8.89.
Signed from Bayer Leverkusen for £75.8m in 2020, Havertz has split opinion since his arrival on English soil, having bursts of brilliance but often falling wide of the mark and failing to display the same prolific return that alerted Europe’s elite outfits to his name while plying his trade in his homeland.
His return of 27 goals and 14 assists from 112 appearances is not the most impressive return for a forward of his calibre and price, yet his breezy style of play and seamless transitional movement does plenty for Chelsea’s offensive surges.
Not to mention his winning goal in the 2020/21 Champions League final against Manchester City. Sadly, his stock has fallen since then with the German not even starting their last league match, a defeat to Newcastle.
The “outstanding” maestro, as lauded by prominent journalist Raphael Honigstein, can provide the key to the bolted door that is prohibiting the Blues from clinching the free-flowing attacking aura that will propel their standing in the Premier League.
Over his final two campaigns with Leverkusen, the 23-year-old scored 38 goals across his final two seasons.
And as per FBref, the gem ranks within the top 10% for pass completion, 5% for touches in the attacking penalty area and 16% for progressive passes – indicating a diverse and dynamic approach to his play, all that is missing is the consistent direct goal threat.
The pieces of the puzzle are there, scattered on the floor, and a footballing mind of high intellect, such as Potter’s could finally complete the jigsaw and unleash Havertz on the Premier League, where his unique approach play could rekindle and save the Blues’ campaign.