Kai Havertz was Chelsea’s big money signing in the last summer transfer window, arriving from Bayer Leverkusen for a hefty fee in the region of £72m.
He hasn’t yet truly showcased his quality on a consistent basis at Stamford Bridge for various reasons including injuries, with Thomas Tuchel rumoured to be employed to get the best out of the youngster as well as other notable talents in the squad.
Tuchel was asked recently about Havertz and his best position, with the Blues boss stating: “In my opinion right now, between a nine and a ten is pretty much his best position.
“He has the freedom to drop, to move between the two positions, and to shift positions between a ten and nine. I feel very confident with him in high positions. I like to have him in high positions, I don’t want him to be behind the ball.
“He feels comfortable on the back of opponents and in pockets between the lines. He is like a nine when he starts his actions in the very middle of the pitch, or if he’s in a half position between a ten, nine, or as a winger. This is the space he can feel comfortable and where he can be decisive for us.”
Tuchel’s comments were very elaborate and they suggest he’s clearly thought extensively about how Havertz can be most effective.
The role that he describes sounds relatively similar to how the 21 year-old was deployed in the Bundesliga before his high-profile transfer to England, with Bayer Leverkusen head coach Peter Bosz using him as a false nine of sorts on several occasions.
He was always a versatile player at Leverkusen – playing in midfield and as a no.10 – but he thrived towards the end of his time in his homeland when he was used between two inside forwards, usually Moussa Diaby and Karim Bellarabi.
Those two players are quick and penetrative, and they tend to run in behind often, which allowed Havertz to retreat into the deeper areas between the lines that Tuchel referenced.
Chelsea have players of a similar type to Diaby and Bellarabi in the squad, especially Werner who would benefit from playing alongside Havertz on a regular basis.
Speaking about Werner recently, Tuchel said: “We know he likes to drift out to the wing between full-backs and centre-halves, so we try to bring him to these positions, he likes to play next to the guy who is the reference in the middle.”
Havertz is around 6-foot-2 and he’s stronger in the air than many would expect, meaning that he could act as that central reference that Werner desires rather than Olivier Giroud, who is now 34 years-old.
The two German talents have shown flashes in the Premier League and they have plenty of time to showcase their worth, but it seems like they would both benefit from playing in the same eleven based on their tactical preferences.
As Tuchel continues to fit the pieces of the puzzle together after around just two months in charge, combining Havertz and Werner on the field could deliver serious dividends as the business end of the campaign approaches.