Rio Ferdinand has compared Chelsea forward Kai Havertz to former Manchester United and Arsenal striker Robin van Persie.
Havertz has been in fine form for the Blues in recent matches, with the German being used in the ‘false nine’ position in place of Romelu Lukaku, who seems to be out of favour under Thomas Tuchel. Havertz has scored five goals in his last six matches in all competitions for Chelsea.
The Germany international, when speaking before the Blues knocked out Lille in the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday, stated his intention to keep improving and not settling despite his strong recent form. He said: “I’m in a good run right now I think. I’ve played some good matches in the past, so maybe with my performances in the last few matches.
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“But I think as a footballer, you’re always hungry and want more. So I hope I can play with a lot more consistency, like in the last year for example, and I hope I can keep on going like this.”
There was no need to tell Chelsea supporters or those who work at the club just how good Havertz is, but now it seems like he is getting the deserved recognition from elsewhere as well. Ferdinand, when speaking about his winning goal against Newcastle United at the weekend, compared the Chelsea star to Van Persie and Dimitar Berbatov.
“The streets liven up when you see goals like that,” Ferdinand said on BT Sport. “It is like a Berbatov, Robin van Persie touch, how slick it is, velcro vibes on the edge of his toe and an exquisite finish. I love watching him play.”
Havertz has been preferred to Lukaku in the number nine role in recent games and he could be the replacement for the Belgian should he leave the Blues in the summer. Since returning to the club last summer, Lukaku has failed to hit the heights expected of him and links to Spain and Italy have emerged in recent weeks.
Tuchel, when speaking about Havertz’s improved performances this season, explained that he has “stepped up” but he can still get better for Chelsea. The Blues boss said this last month: “If we isolate the goal scoring, maybe we can say we expect more and he expects more for sure but, in consistency, in terms of what he’s giving to the team, he’s stepped up already and he is pretty consistent.
“We can see a lot of intensity and physicality in his game. He has already stepped up from the beginning of this season in training and when he plays. He’s tougher to play, more physical and is more involved. He relies more on his strengths, which is his body and runs without the ball, and he’s more focused on this.
“I think he’s in the process of being even more reliable and more consistent. Of course, he’s an offensive player with the ability to score and we want more goals so, in this part of the game, he can improve by being more clinical and more precise.
“He can use his technique a bit better in shooting, so there are aspects of the game where there is still space to develop because he’s also still young, but he’s now stepped up twice in big matches and crucial moments, which can only be good for his development.”