The biggest names in European football for the past dozen years have been Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. In fact, they are probably the most famous athletes in the world over that span. Luka Modric, in 2018, is the only player besides those two to have one the Ballon D’Or award since 2007, when Kaka was named football’s best.
However, Messi and Ronaldo are 33 and 35 years old respectively, and their primes, and some of the best football the world has ever seen, is unfortunately coming to an end. Their rivalry is one of the most famous and one of the most entertaining in sporting history.
Supporters across the globe are starting to ask the question: Who will be the players who secede these two all time greats?
Kylian Mbappé Lottin burst onto the scene in 2016-17 with Monaco, and is one of only two teenagers to ever score in a World Cup Final (the other being a relatively unknown Brazilian named Pelé). He’s the most expensive teenager of all time rumored to have been sold for $160 million.
Jadon Sancho seems set for a return to England for somewhere near 100 pounds after a successful tutelage at BVB Dortmund
And perhaps the best of the bunch, Kai Havertz was recently linked to be on Chelsea’s shortlist to finish off an already impressive summer window for the Blues.
How good is Kai Havertz? What is his play style?
Short answer, Kai Havertz is very, very good.
He’s a tall and athletic player at 6’2. I was fortunate enough to watch his performance against Werder Bremen just after the restart, when he headed home twice in ten minutes. An attacking mid capable of scoring headers is very rare in modern football
He has enough pace to beat center halves, although that’s not one of his standout attributes. He can finish with the best of them, which has led to him often being played along Bayer Leverkusen’s front line, either on the right or in the middle. He does his best work when he’s able to pick up the ball and carry it from the middle third to the final in my opinion though
Havertz truly sets himself apart with his technical abilities, and instinctual awareness of proper positioning and where his teammates are and how to get them the perfect ball.
He dribbles through the opposition with ease and is comfortable playing with both feet. His touch rivals that of Mesut Ozil, another successful German attacking playmaker, but offers finishing and athletic ability that the Gunner has always seemed disinterested in adapting.
Havertz sees teammates and passing lanes that some of the best players in the world are completely ignorant of. At just 21, the German playmaker has a ceiling rivalling that of Mbappe, Messi, Neymar, and Ronaldo.
What are the links with Chelsea, and what do they mean?
Frank Lampard took over the Chelsea management position this past summer after Maurizio Sarri left to team up with CR7 at Juventus.
Lampard came in to a side that limped its way into a Champions League position, and lost both its best player and its manager to superclubs in Spain and Juventus respectively. They faced a 2 window transfer ban for illegal agreements with players under 18. The club was expected to face a difficult season
Just before the ban, however, they managed to get deals for Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic across the line, to lessen the loss of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid. They were also bolstered by the return from loan of players like Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount.
After a tumultuous start to the season, the former Chelsea skipper sees his Blues staring down a third place finish and a rather successful opening campaign.
This season’s unexpected achievements were made even sweeter when David Ornstein announced Chelsea’s red hot interest in the German star (reference). David Ornstein is the London correspondent for The Athletic, and is the most reputable football journalist in London. His twitter (@David_Ornstein) is often one of the first to break major news for Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham, and of course Chelsea.
Should Chelsea sign Havertz, he will be playing under one of the most legendary midfielders of the 20th century. That alone is a massive step in his career and could really bring out the greatness in the young talent.
But he will also be lining up with incoming transfers Hakim Ziyech, and Timo Werner two incredibly highly rated and sought after forwards coming from Ajax and Red Bull Leipzig respectively, two clubs that have been known for cultivating Europe’s best young talents in recent years. Werner and Havertz are also teammates from the national team, and their German chemistry could prove to be a fantastically impressive pairing, similar to CR7 and Mesut Ozil, or Messi and Andres Iniesta.
If indeed Chelsea do sign the starlet, they will instantly join the ranks of Liverpool and Manchester City as title challengers, and will have an incredible young core around which to build the future of the squad. It will be a brilliant atmosphere for talent young and old to want to join to both develop under one of the brightest young coaches in English football, and to push for the biggest trophies.