Chelsea: Kai Havertz faces make-or-break moment as goals dry up and Aubameyang arrival looms

·2-min read
Kai Havertz faces a potentially defining time in his Chelsea career  (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Kai Havertz faces a potentially defining time in his Chelsea career (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Kai Havertz is facing a make-or-break moment in his Chelsea career.

The 23-year-old remains a firm fans’ favourite at Stamford Bridge, having scored the winners in the 2021 Champions League and 2022 Club World Cup finals, but his statistics make for pretty uncomfortable reading.

With no goals or assists in four starts this season, the Germany forward already finds himself under pressure.

Chelsea are targeting a move for Barcelona’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to add firepower to their team, while Armando Broja, who had a successful loan spell at tonight’s opponents last season, is waiting in the wings.

The 23 goals Havertz has scored since joining Chelsea for £75.8million in 2020 are identical to the amount managed by the often-ridiculed Timo Werner, who has just been offloaded to RB Leipzig.

As the third-highest earner at the club, Chelsea need more from Havertz, with Raheem Sterling the only forward to score and assist so far this season.

It is not a lack of effort or talent that is holding Havertz back.

Before Saturday’s hard-fought 2-1 win with 10 men over Leicester, no player had made more off-the-ball runs than Havertz in the Premier League. Furthermore, no Chelsea player has covered more distance than Havertz in their last two games.

But he did not have a single shot in either game, despite lining up as a central striker. Indeed, new defender Kalidou Koulibaly has had more shots than him this season.

His focus on pressing and creating space is eating into his own opportunities to score, which is a primary job for any No9.

Havertz admits he might lack that hunger to score goals, having been converted from a midfielder to a striker by Blues manager Thomas Tuchel.

“As a striker, you always have to run in behind — and I can use my ability to do that as well,” Havertz told Standard Sport ahead of tonight’s trip to Southampton.

“Sometimes it is about milliseconds, to get the pass and to be calm in front of goal, and I can rely on my fellow players to give me these balls. We keep on working hard and I will try to score.

“It is a team sport and I am a team player. I don’t go home and think I am unhappy because I didn’t score, I am happier that we won in the end. But I do need to look at myself and maybe I need to show the desire a little bit more. I will keep on working hard and I believe it will come.”

Tuchel must decide if he can instil a hunger in Havertz to score goals. If not, he faces a call over whether the off-the-ball running is worth more than the goals which Chelsea are lacking at the moment.