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Thomas Tuchel proven right as Kai Havertz gives new owners perfect answer to Eden Hazard claim – Jake Stokes

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Kai Havertz could become be the first Chelsea player to win a Premier League player of the month award since Eden Hazard in 2018, following his March nomination. The 22-year-old joins teammate Trevoh Chalobah among those put forward for the award.

Thomas Tuchel’s solution to the west London side’s number nine woes has led the frontline to excellent effect, directly contributing towards five goals in three appearances. Havertz has grown into an integral figure for Chelsea in recent weeks amid the club’s off-field ownership saga.

The German international’s deft finish against Newcastle, which has been nominated for Premier League goal of the month, typified his emergence as the Blues’ talisman as he became the all-time top goalscorer of the Tuchel era. March has seen Havertz shift through the gears as he begins to answer his quest to fulfil Eden Hazard’s role as the knight in shining armour at Stamford Bridge.

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Gary Neville tipped Havertz to emulate the Belgian’s success at Chelsea ahead of the season. Particularly since the turn of the new year, the German has begun to attain the former Manchester United defender’s challenge.

“I actually think Havertz has gone up a level,” he said, speaking on Sky Sports. “I think he’s in third gear, and he’ll go to fourth gear, then to fifth gear and be an absolutely great player.

“When he really fills out into his body, he will get big and stronger. He’s already a great runner with the ball.

“I think when he gets more confidence, more belief, in two years’ time, I think we could be seeing someone who’s absolutely there. Look what Chelsea did with Eden Hazard – I think that’s what Havertz will do.”

Havertz joined Chelsea from Bayer Leverkusen in 2020 for an eye-watering £72m. Havertz was part of a heavy investment scheme at Chelsea that followed the departure of Hazard, who left for the Santiago Bernabeu for approximately £100m in 2019.

He initially struggled to make an impact for the Blues, scoring just one goal in his first 22 Premier League games. Though, he did suffer Covid shortly after touching down on British soil, which hampered his ability to showcase his talent.

It wasn’t until January 2021, after fellow countryman Tuchel took charge, that the number 29 raised his game to a new level. The Chelsea boss stuck by Havertz, who gradually became more critical to the club’s quest for silverware.

The versatile forward repaid Tuchel’s faith and eventually scored the decisive goal in Porto to lift Chelsea’s second Champions League honour. Havertz carried his healthy form into this season. Using Neville’s analogy, he looks like Tuchel has shifted him into fourth — maybe even fifth — gear.

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https://www.football.london/chelsea-fc/news/kai-havertz-chelsea-eden-hazard-23502688