Over the last couple of seasons, Chelsea has had quite a bit of trouble finding stability at the striker position. The club has cycled through multiple players, giving each and everyone a chance to play. As the team looks towards the 2022/23 season, Kai Havertz is the player who deserves a chance to play up front, week in and week out.
Kai Havertz is one of a few potential options at the club who can feature out of the striker position. Timo Werner, who Chelsea signed for a reported £47.5 million two summers ago, is more than capable of playing as a nine. Romelu Lukaku was also part of the squad last season, but his inability to fit the system resulted in the striker getting sent back on loan to Inter Milan.
End to challenging and very tough season. We learnt a lot and as a team in finals and the league fought together. Thank you for all the support this season home and away 💙 pic.twitter.com/eerEpD6h9h
— Kai Havertz (@kaihavertz29) May 22, 2022
The return of Lukaku to Stamford Bridge was one that did not go as planned. A total of 13 goals across all competitions last season was quite underwhelming for the Belgian international. In the previous season, Lukaku bagged 30 goals across all competitions for Inter. For whatever reason, he was not able to get on the same page with Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.
So with Lukaku out of the picture for at least one season, that leaves Havertz and Werner (unless Chelsea decides to go into the market for another option). Both offer a different set of qualities, which makes it possible that both play a fair amount. Havertz is someone who can impact the game, both on and off the ball. On the other hand, Werner is most dangerous when he gets in behind with his pace.
When the league season kicks off in the month of August, I see no reason why Havertz should not get the first crack at striker. His first season in the Premier League after making the big move from Bayer Leverkusen was a bit of struggle. Havertz had a difficult time adjusting to the speed and physicality of the English game at the start. But as the 2020/21 season progressed, the German forward became more influential in the Chelsea attack.
Havertz may not have had the goal-scoring numbers he wanted in his first campaign (just four league goals in 27 matches), but his continued effort to work himself into the team paid off in the 2021 Champions League Final. In the biggest match of the season, Havertz scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Manchester City.
The German international played more minutes and scored more goals (eight goals in 29 matches) in his second season at Chelsea, but it still didn’t feel like the manager considered him as an out and out striker. Tuchel tried to make the Lukaku experiment work, but as the season went on, he featured less and less. That left Havertz and Timo Werner to fill that gap, which they did well when given the opportunity to play through the middle.
It may be easy to forget sometimes when you consider how much money Chelsea typically spends in the transfer market, but the club signed Havertz to a deal worth £70 million less than two years ago. When you invest that amount of money in a player of his quality, you need to give him a ton of minutes in his best position. Sure, Havertz can influence the game from a deeper position in the midfield, but he is the best striker Chelsea has.
The club may not necessarily need to go into the market for a striker, but the rumors have begun to surface at the very least. David Ornstein of The Athletic reported on Monday that, “Chelsea are considering a move for Cristiano Ronaldo amid the forward informing Manchester United he wants to leave the club this summer if a suitable offer arrives.”
It looks as if new co-owner Todd Boehly is interested in potentially bringing the 37-year-old striker in, but it is unclear if Tuchel feels the same way. At this stage of his career, Ronaldo is no more than a penalty box poacher. If the attacking midfielder/wingers can give him consistent service, the Portuguese international could make it work at Chelsea.
Ronaldo to Chelsea would be a fascinating dynamic if it were to happen, but time will tell if that ever materializes. If the club truly believes in Havertz long-term, he needs to get consistent minutes at the striker position throughout the 2022/23 season.