As the season comes to a close with Champions League on the line, Chelsea’s midfielders will need to ask how badly they want Kai Havertz to replace them.
Sheffield United was an abject horror show. All credit to the Blades for being a fantastically well put together team, but Chelsea did little to stop them. From top to bottom, from big picture to small, the Blues were outclassed on the day.
It would be unfair to mention any particular section of the field when they were all not good enough. But it should be noted that on a day where the midfield and forwards had to show something given Chelsea’s transfer activity, they showed nothing at all.
So the question needs to be asked; how badly does the Chelsea midfield and forward line want Kai Havertz? It is a mere rumor for now, but one based on the Champions League qualification. But at the same time, some of these players will know it is there spot that is in jeopardy. They are playing like it.
Jorginho is the biggest culprit. After not playing since the restart and many fans crying for his inclusion, he put in just a truly awful performance. Rumors were saying he may be used to help fund the Havertz transfer and he played both like a player who knew he was leaving as well as a player who was trying to lower his value as much as humanly possible.
Ross Barkley and Mason Mount can be lumped together. Though neither was as flat out bad as the player behind them, neither had any influence on the match whatsoever. When the deepest midfielder is ineffective, the eights have to pick up the slack. Neither did and both will know Havertz would mean time on the bench for either of them.
The two wingers can get a pass on technicalities. Willian surely is not staying with his current demands regardless of where Havertz plays on the field. Christian Pulisic has been carrying the team as of late so one bad day after being run into the ground was expected.
What of Tammy Abraham? Sure, he already has Timo Werner to worry about, but Havertz has been playing up top often this season. He looks a shadow of himself from earlier in the season and whatever hunger he had seems to have gone with the real threat of Werner and the perceived threat of Havertz.
Simply put, all of these players played like they know qualifying for the Champions League means their place will be safer. That is not to suggest anything untoward, but the notion is surely weighing on their minds. Champions League should be enough of an incentive, but if it means Havertz, some of these players will struggle to maintain their position at Chelsea next season.
Frank Lampard surely knows this as well so he will need to navigate it going into the season’s final matches. He needs players who are hungry and playing for a spot next season, not players who have already given up. The final few matches will determine everything.