Timo Werner’s Chelsea departure increases focus on struggling Kai Havertz

Timo Werner leaves Chelsea on 23 goals, the exact number Kai Havertz has scored for the club since the pair joined in the same summer two years ago.

erner was often cast as the biggest so-called failure of the Germans and yet he netted his goals in 89 appearances for the Blues, four fewer than Havertz has so far made.

That is why Werner’s return to RB Leipzig will shine a brighter spotlight on Havertz, who also cost Chelsea at least £14.5m more than Werner having signed for an initial £62m from Bayer Leverkusen in 2020. Werner’s departure is likely to intensify Chelsea’s efforts to sign another forward before the transfer window shuts, with the club set to find out this week whether or not it is worth formalising interest in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose representatives visited the Barcelona offices yesterday.

Certainly, Havertz (23) has done little to suggest that he will hit the back of the net regularly enough to solve Chelsea’s scoring problems.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel acknowledged as much when addressing the subject after the pre-season thrashing at the hands of Arsenal when he said: “Listen, it’s the same players, so why should everything change?”

Chelsea entertain Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, having scored 17 fewer goals than their London rivals so far in 2022. Antonio Conte’s team have outscored the rest of the Premier League this year with 51 goals, one more than Manchester City, with the Blues down in fourth.

Given Conte and Tuchel both set up with three central defenders, that statistic must raise questions over the German’s ability to unlock his team’s attacking potential. Tuchel revealed that none of Chelsea’s current forwards want to touch the No 9 shirt which has so far been left free since Romelu Lukaku’s return to Inter Milan, fearing it is cursed.

That is an embarrassing situation and is again damning on Tuchel, given Tammy Abraham scored goals in the No 9 shirt before being frozen out and sold to Roma last summer.

But the contribution of Chelsea’s No 29, Havertz, who was substituted after an anonymous 75 minutes against Everton, must improve to ensure that it is not his Chelsea future in question this time next year.

Tuchel has settled on the false nine position being Havertz’s best and there have been flashes and signs the forward can grow into the role, not least when he got the winning goal in the Champions League final against Manchester City.

It was a goal that will ensure his place in the Chelsea history books, but that alone will not guarantee his place or future – particularly now the man who had become the scapegoat for Chelsea’s strikers, Werner, is no longer around.

Havertz was every bit as disappointing on the pre-season tour of America as he was at Goodison Park and has not given off the air of a man with a point to prove.

At least Werner created an element of chaos, together with chances for his team-mates, with his constant running and hard work even if the misses became unbearable.

Werner’s attitude was summed up by the farewell statement he posted to Chelsea supporters that said: “I will never forget how you guys stood behind me in the good and challenging times! We lifted the Champions League together and I will always remember the song you wrote and chanted for me.”

Of course, it is not just Havertz with much to prove. Christian Pulisic only has two more Chelsea goals to his name than the German pair, despite joining the club a year earlier.  

Nobody at Chelsea, particularly Havertz, can hide behind Werner’s misses any longer. 

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

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