'People think you are Lionel Messi' - Kai Havertz opens up Chelsea transfer fee 'tension' & defends under-fire Graham Potter

Kai Havertz Chelsea 2022-23Getty Images
  • Havertz joined Chelsea in 2020
  • The Blues forked out £72m as a transfer fee
  • Price tag mounted pressure on him to perform

WHAT HAPPENED? The German playmaker was signed from Bayer Leverkusen in a deal worth £72 million including add-ons in September 2020, which was a club record at the time. Havertz has become a Champions League winner at Chelsea while recording 32 goals and 15 assists across all competitions, but he made a slow start to life at Stamford Bridge. The Germany international admits that his price tag was a burden as it created an immediate pressure to perform.

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WHAT THEY SAID: The Chelsea forward told The Guardian: “For me the price was a big thing. I was Chelsea’s most expensive player. I don’t understand how so much money is paid but it is normal in football: look at our recent transfers. That brings pressure because people think you are Messi. I was still 20, 21. People don’t see that; they see the price so you have to be great from day one. You can feel it, the tension. You read it, hear it. I came during Covid."

Havertz added on how he deals with the weight of expectations: "You have to be stable. If you’re playing badly, it doesn’t make you the worst person on earth and the highs aren’t real. Everything moves fast: the last few months is a good example. Everyone’s upset with me, I don’t score, I play rubbish, this is bad, that’s bad, they have to sell me. Now I score and everyone says I am the best player. People love me now but maybe in two weeks they hate me again. No matter how well I played, I come home and my girlfriend wants me to put the plates into the dishwasher."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Havertz is not the only one dealing with pressure at Chelsea, with manager Graham Potter having also faced plenty of criticism after a tough first few months in charge since joining the club from Brighton. The Blues find themselves down in 10th spot in the Premier League with just 38 points from 27 matches, but Havertz insists the squad is fully behind the under-fire coach. "(He is) very good for Chelsea even though he gets criticism; in the changing room everyone knows his qualities," he said.


Kai HavertzGettyKai Havertz Graham Potter Chelsea Dortmund 2022-23Getty ImagesKai Havertz Mateo Kovacic Chelsea 2022-23Getty Images

WHAT NEXT? Havertz will be in action when Chelsea host Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Saturday in a Premier League encounter.