Former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole has hit back at those who have criticised Kai Havertz, whose “talent is unquestionable”.
Havertz was Chelsea’s most expensive signing of their summer splurge, costing more than £70m. However, he has struggled to make an instant impression.
He began to silence his doubters by scoring a hat-trick in the EFL Cup against Barnsley and his first Premier League goal against Southampton. However, his progress was then disrupted by a positive test for Covid-19.
Havertz has since returned to action, and started Chelsea’s last Champions League group match against Krasnodar on Tuesday. He put in a promising performance.
Following that important runout, pundit Cole described Havertz as one of Europe’s best young players, backing him to prove his worth soon.
“No, it’s not been fair (the criticism) because when you do go into a different culture, with different team-mates, different style of play and different training, it can be tough,” Cole told BT Sport.
“But the talent is unquestionable. He’s widely regarded as one of the best young players in Europe.
“He’s had his injury difficulties, he had the [corona]virus that set him back, but my feeling is that the cream will always rise to the top and he’s a top, top player.
“We’ve seen it in flashes and as the season moves on, that will get more and more consistent.”
Havertz and Werner settling in at different rates
Havertz was not the only German player to arrive at Stamford Bridge in the summer. Compatriot Timo Werner joined the Blues from RB Leipzig.
Werner has been able to settle in more quickly than Havertz – and Cole thinks that may have affected the latter.
“I think he’s struggled a little bit with how well Werner has settled in,” Cole said. “Two German lads coming in, obviously it helps, but he’s (Werner) settled in.
“They’ve come from different clubs, different environments and different demands in training, so Werner has settled in quicker.
“But Havertz will be a big player, I’m convinced of that. As the season goes on, he will impact games.”