Of the various factors that contributed to Frank Lampard’s demise at Chelsea, his inability to get the best out of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz will go down as one of the biggest.
The Germany internationals, two of the brightest young attackers in Europe, were the headline additions in Chelsea’s summer of spending, arriving at Stamford Bridge for a combined cost of around £120m from RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen respectively.
In 35 Premier League appearances between them under Lampard, however, they provided just five goals and six assists, their struggles intensifying as the season wore on. Werner has not scored a Premier League goal since November. Havertz’s barren spell goes back even further.
Lampard’s final Premier League game in charge, the 2-0 loss to Leicester at the King Power Stadium last Tuesday, encapsulated the issues.
Havertz looked bereft of confidence on his return to the side, his only contribution of note to earn a yellow card for a cynical foul on Harvey Barnes, while Werner fared little better after emerging from the bench in the second half, his poor fortunes summed up by the goal he saw disallowed for offside.
Werner’s unhappy run continued in Sunday’s FA Cup fourth round win over Luton Town. The meeting with Championship opposition looked an ideal opportunity for the 24-year-old to rediscover his scoring touch but instead it will be remembered for his missed penalty.
Frank Lampard’s vision to develop his Chelsea side took longer than anticipated