Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has advised his German compatriot, Bayer Leverkusen attacker Kai Havertz, to remain in the Bundesliga. Effectively, he has told him to not consider a move to London.
Michael Ballack Advises Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz To Skip Chelsea
Ballack told SportBild via Football.London: “Players with [Havertz’s] quality are in demand everywhere. But I think he’s in good hands in Leverkusen. The conditions there are perfect for young top players and their development. Bayer play attractive football and their training facilities are very good.
“Leverkusen also offer a cautious environment, and as a player, you can make mistakes without being the focus of criticism. You should appreciate that. Of course, a player like Kai Havertz has to play in the Champions League, so it would be important for Leverkusen to qualify for it.”
Ballack hits the nail on the head with each sentence. Havertz is an incredible playmaker in the middle of the park. He generally looks to set up teammates first. However, he also reads the play ahead of him well and times his second runs into the box to perfection. This combination of skills has allowed him to thrive both as a scorer and distributor of the ball.
That is exactly why Chelsea, like many other clubs, are “keen on” him, as Last Word On Football previously reported. And because of that, having one of their own advising Havertz against a move to England, and effectively a move to Chelsea should sting a bit.
Still, though, this is sound advice from Ballack, for both parties. Chelsea have a plethora of young talent already in the attacking positions like Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi that manager Frank Lampard has put his trust in. And with Hakim Ziyech joining soon, that will only increase competition for Havertz while simultaneously providing a nightmare man-management situation for Lampard.
Havertz would certainly be a welcomed addition to Stamford Bridge. And it sounds strange to have a former Chelsea player advise supremely talented players not to join the Blues. In the larger picture, though, it probably is right for all involved.
Ballack Speaking From Experience
Ballack’s advice comes from an intimate understanding of both clubs. He spent three seasons at Leverkusen between 1999 and 2002 in his first stint with the club, scoring 37 goals and assisting another 23. He later returned to Leverkusen for another two seasons from 2010-12 with limited playing time as an ageing player and eventually retired at the BayArena
Ballack arguably had the most success during his four years at Chelsea where he tallied 25 goals and 24 assists in the only part of his career outside Germany. More importantly, Ballack won a Premier League title, two FA Cups, and a League Cup with the Blues.
In Europe, he lost a second Champions League Final in 2008 to Manchester United – the first in 2002 against Real Madrid with Bayer. And possibly most infamously, he suffered the infuriating loss to Barcelona in the UCL semifinals the following year.