Roman Abramovich looks determined to return Chelsea to European football’s top table as the Russian billionaire looks set to SMASH the team’s transfer record by securing the services of arguably the sport’s hottest young property.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Havertz has been lauded by some as the finest German talent in a generation after a string of impressive performances in the Bundesliga, with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich known to be suitors.
But the effects (and loss of income) surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has decimated the budgets of some of Europe’s top clubs, leaving Abramovich and Chelsea in pole position to secure what would be a flagship signing for the Londoners.
Abramovich has already signaled his intention to re-establish Chelsea as a European powerhouse by funding the capture of highly-rated German forward Timo Werner from RB Leipzig, while a deal for Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech was arranged several weeks ago.
Havertz, however, will cost somewhere in the region of £90 million ($115 million) if reports are to be believed – a sum which vastly eclipses the club’s current record transfer, the £70+ million ($90 million) signing of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga two summers ago.
Abramovich’s eagerness to open his pocketbook can be traced to a desire to return Chelsea to the status of one of European club football’s most dominant teams, and he has reportedly asked the club’s chief negotiator, Marina Granovskaia, to ensure that the deal for Havertz gets over the line.
The war chest at boss Frank Lampard’s disposal to fund these purchases can be seen as a hangover from the transfer ban that was applied to the club last year, as well as the sales of the likes of Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata to Real and Atletico Madrid respectively – with the Blues potentially earning as much as £180 million ($230 million) from those two deals alone.
German publication Bild reports that Havertz has been identified as Chelsea’s top priority ahead of the start of next season, with suggestions that personal terms for a five-year contract have already been agreed with the player and that all that remains is for Granovskaia to hash out a deal with Leverkusen, whose negotiating position could be weakened by their failure to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League.
As for what has made Havertz one of world football’s hottest properties, former German international Didi Hamman explained it as such: “He’s an exceptional player who reminds me of a young Michael Ballack.
“He has that air of arrogance in a nice way about him and he’s just a natural, he’s two-footed, he’s tall and he’s good in the air. He’s very versatile, he can play across the front, he can play in any position. I think he is the best player we have got in Germany at the moment.”
Chelsea and Abramovich’s plans extend far beyond just Havertz. The club has been linked with a left-sided defender, with Leicester’s Ben Chilwell and Ajax’s Nicolas Tagliafico thought to be under consideration. West Ham’s former Chelsea academy player Declan Rice has also been strongly linked with a move across London.
If these signings are completed, it would return Chelsea to the free-spending years of the early Abramovich administration and also increase the pressure on novice boss Frank Lampard. When money is spent, expectations rise along with it.
Abramovich, and his right-hand woman Granovskaia, appear eager to test his mettle.