Headlining Chelsea’s summer signings were German duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. Both of them have struggled to have much of an impact on the team currently eighth on the Premier League table.
However, Chelsea must beware of pulling the transfer trigger on them too early. They’ve done that before.
£120 Million Is Too Much Give Up On
£120 million is what Chelsea paid to bring in Werner and Havertz. Even for a club with Roman Abramovich’s backing, that is a lot of money. For that money, one would expect world-beating calibre players, but this hasn’t been the case.
Their woes were highlighted in the 2-0 loss to Leicester on Tuesday. Havertz started, didn’t offer much going forward and was subbed off for Werner with just over 20 minutes to go. Werner then proceeded to not offer much going forward – save for flicking in a Ziyech set-piece which was ruled out for offside.
Before the Leicester match, Havertz had made 15 EPL appearances, with one goal and two assists. Werner had appeared in all 18 EPL matches, starting 16 of them and only managing four goals and four assists. With the last of those goals coming in October.
Plainly, things haven’t been working. But it is far too early to get rid of them just yet.
If History Can Teach Us Anything…
It’s that there is such a thing as giving up on a player too soon. When a 21-year-old Mo Salah burst onto the scene with Basel in 2013/14, manager José Mourinho jumped at the chance to sign him, spending £11 million on the Egyptian winger.
In his first half-season with Chelsea, Salah played 10 games and scored two goals, before being loaned out to Fiorentina. The following season, Salah would be loaned to Roma where they would then sign him permanently for £11.6 million.
Now, being able to dispose of winger that couldn’t crack the first team for a small (£600k) profit, looks a good bit of business. But after two more seasons at Roma, Liverpool paid £37 million to take him to Anfield.
Similarly, 21-year-old Kevin De Bruyne was signed for £6.6 million from Belgian club Genk in 2012. He only featured for Chelsea six times in all competitions before going on loan to Werder Bremen, then being sold to Wolfsburg for £18 million in 2014.
After one season at Wolfsburg, De Bruyne joined Manchester City for a transfer fee of £55 million.
After four seasons in Manchester, De Bruyne has notched up 39 goals and 76 assists from 171 EPL appearances. He was the 2019/20 Player Of The Season and was the league’s top playmaker in 2017/18 and 2019/20.
Havertz and Werner
Werner is 24, so he is in a bit more of a time-sensitive situation but he’s not old by any stretch. Havertz, however, is 21. The exact age Salah and De Bruyne were when they arrived at Chelsea.
This isn’t to suggest that Havertz and Werner will become as good as Salah and De Bruyne. They might, they might not. But it would certainly sting if one or both of them did after making the quick decision to cut their losses. This is what Chelsea need to beware of