As one of the most sought-after young players in Europe, Kai Havertz has never been short of suitors but it is the Premier League, and Chelsea in particular, that has been on the young German’s mind ever since he was a child.
Following a decade at Bayer Leverkusen, Havertz completed what he has described as a ‘dream move’ this summer by joining Frank Lampard’s exciting, evolving squad at Stamford Bridge.
It was a transfer that took a little while to complete but, once Chelsea’s interest in him became apparent, the 21-year-old only ever had eyes for west London.
‘I was dreaming as a kid to play in the Premier League and to play for Chelsea as well because for me Chelsea is a very big club and one of the best in the world,’ said Havertz in a press conference at Cobham.
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‘I always dreamed to play in a league like that and for me the dream came true very early because I’m just 21. I watched the Premier League as a kid very often with my brother and my parents so it seems a little unreal for me and my family that I’m now sitting here and playing for a club like Chelsea.’
Lampard’s influence in our summer recruitment has been widely noted and Havertz confessed to being a long-time admirer of our record goalscorer. While some of their midfield attributes may vary, as Lampard himself outlined recently, the desire to score and create goals evidently burns brightly in the boy from the border city of Aachen.
‘I watched many games of him as a kid and I loved him as a player,’ Havertz commented on Lampard. ‘He was one of the biggest players in England of his time.
‘He likes the way I play as a midfielder, to go into the box trying to score goals and make assists. It helps a lot to have a manager who played for such a long time in the Premier League and in the national team.
‘He can give me tips and I think he will help me a lot to become a better football player so I’m very excited that he’s my manager now.’
After making his debut in Monday’s 3-1 win at Brighton, Lampard reiterated that his new midfielder and the rest of our summer recruits should be afforded a little time to adapt to new surroundings, particularly given the unusually brief period between seasons this year.
Havertz’s first runout in blue came just 10 days after his switch from Leverkusen to London and with just a few training sessions at Cobham under his belt. He knows there are big expectations on his shoulders but admits a period of adaptation will be required before he is fully at his best.
‘The Premier League always had the best players in the world so I’m very glad to be here now and to play against or with these players,’ he added. ‘It took a long time but I’m just very happy to be here and I’ve settled in very well.
‘Chelsea is a very big club and I know this already but for me it was a big step to come to another country, another culture, another language. It’s very different than before and it will take some weeks to adapt but I’m looking forward to it.’
Blues supporters would certainly say that the feeling is mutual.