Jack Grealish can do “a bit of everything” and would have given Chelsea more options than Kai Havertz, claims Craig Burley, with it suggested that the Blues may have made the wrong transfer call.
A summer of big spending at Stamford Bridge saw a number of fresh faces added to Frank Lampard’s ranks.
Many of those filled creative attacking berths, with the likes of Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech snapped up.
The latter has looked lively when clear of niggling knocks, but two Germany internationals are yet to offer the expected return on sizeable investment made in them.
Werner does have eight goals to his name and can operate down the middle or out wide in Chelsea’s front line.
He is a different kind of player to England star Grealish, with the Aston Villa captain a playmaking midfielder.
Havertz offers a more direct comparison with the 25-year-old schemer, but the former Bayer Leverkusen star is yet to get close to delivering a similar level of end product.
With that in mind, and with questions already being asked of a £70 million ($96m) deal, Burley believes that Chelsea could have explored the option of raiding a Premier League rival for a proven performer.
He told ESPN FC: “I wouldn’t have been against signing Jack Grealish. He’s been superb again, a fantastic season.
“He has a bit of everything. At the moment Havertz is lost and Werner has lost his confidence.
“Timo Werner is a different kettle of fish because Jack Grealish is a midfielder who can do a bit of everything. Werner is an attacker, and in essence so is Havertz – although he can play a little deeper.
“Grealish would have given them more options than Havertz.
“Grealish has been playing further forward this season and you could have, as Lampard has, played [N’Golo] Kante and [Mateo] Kovacic and then had Grealish a bit further forward and he would have done a bit of everything.
“I don’t know if it was an option but I think most clubs in the Premier League would take Grealish at the right price.”
While Burley feels Chelsea could have found value in a deal for Grealish, another former Blues star – ex-defender Frank Leboeuf – is not convinced that a £100 million ($137m) transfer was the right option for Lampard and Co.
He added: “It would have cost more to get Grealish because he is English and all English players that you buy, you are going to pay twice the price.
“I love Grealish, I like the player, but investment-wise it was maybe wiser to get Werner and another player because Grealish would have cost £100m.”
Chelsea, who have taken just four points from their last five Premier League games, will be back in action on Sunday when they open 2021 with a testing home date against Manchester City.