There are 72 million reasons why Chelsea will be hoping Thomas Tuchel can help Kai Havertz. The record signing’s struggle to find the form that he showed at Bayer Leverkusen was seen as a key factor in Frank Lampard failing to meet expectations. Unlocking his potential could be crucial if Chelsea are to prosper.
It is anticipated that the technocratic Tuchel will offer clearer tactical instructions and in the case of Timo Werner, their fellow German, a player who has had difficulties of his own since his summer move to Stamford Bridge, that change of style could suit the striker. With Havertz, it might be more complicated.
That is the view of Tayfun Korkut, the former Leverkusen coach under whom Havertz scored his first Bundesliga goal at the age of just 17 while still a schoolboy.
Korkut knows all about Tuchel too. He not only faced his teams in Germany but was in the same Stuttgart Kickers youth academy many years ago when the pair were just teenagers.
An admirer of Havertz, the former Turkey international midfielder still rates him as one of the game’s top talents. But even he acknowledges that it has been an underwhelming start.
“I am still behind what I said 100 per cent or even more,” Korkut tells Sky Sports. “There are maybe a lot of small pieces that can help to explain Kai’s performances for Chelsea so far. I am not looking to make excuses for him but we need to see the bigger picture here.”
That bigger picture includes catching coronavirus and experiencing lockdown in a foreign country after making the move from his boyhood club. Throw in the absence of supporters and the pressure of a big fee and this has been an altogether alien experience.
Havertz has been in and out of the team, used in a variety of different positions. While Werner’s overt disappointment when missing chances has prompted some sympathy, there is something more impenetrable about the body language of Havertz.