Kai Havertz has spoken about two factors that played a role in bringing him to Stamford Bridge, his childhood love for Chelsea and former midfielder Michael Ballack.
The attacking midfielder made his Chelsea debut on Monday night in a 3-1 away win against Brighton, 10 days after arriving at the club, and he has also explained that Frank Lampard also had an influence on his decision to move to the club.
‘The coach had a big impact on my decision,’ Havertz said. ‘I loved Chelsea my whole life and I always loved the team as a kid, so it was not a very tough decision for me.
‘Chelsea is a very big club and I’m very grateful and thankful to be here now. It’s a big project here and I love to play with young players.’
Havertz also follows in the footsteps of a German midfield legend in Ballack, who also made the move from Germany to play for the Blues.
Ballack scored 26 goals in 167 appearances for Chelsea. He also won the Premier League title with head coach Lampard in the 2009/10 season.
‘Ballack was a very big player and he also played for Leverkusen and Bayern Munich and he was always like a hero when I was younger,’ said Havertz. ‘I liked him as a player very much and he played in my position. He was a player that scored many, many goals and of course I try to score goals like him.
‘I’m thankful to play in the club which he played for.’
On Monday night, Havertz showed glimpses of what he can offer Frank Lampard’s men in his debut season in the Premier League. Even though he did not score or assist, it was clear to see the German was in sharp condition and willing to put in the hard work to impress his new manager. This was perfectly demonstrated by his 80-yard chase down to reclaim possession late in the second half.
He completed 88 per cent of his passes, made seven ball recoveries and 35 touches in the 80 minutes he was on the pitch.
Havertz could make his home Chelsea debut against Premier League champions Liverpool today. He sees this as a great opportunity to test himself against one of the biggest teams in Europe and German manager Jurgen Klopp.
‘He is a big manager and he has achieved a lot in Liverpool. He won the Premier League and the Champions League. I’ve watched all of this and all you can only say congratulations.
‘I think he is hungry and he wants to win more titles and that’s the reason why we need to play our best football on Sunday afternoon.’