Chelsea's summer of exports continues in full force. One-year ago and it was all about incomings, new signings and big additions. 12 months on and their stars cannot get out of the door quickly enough.

There is a mutual understanding between the club and most in the set-up that a new direction is being taken. For many the countdown until their time was up at Stamford Bridge started long ago. Some were close to leaving last summer, some just in January: either way there is no hold-up in decisions being made now.

Joao Felix and Denis Zakaria have already left following the conclusion of their loan spells. Mason Mount is in talks to join Manchester United - all but settling one of the potential sagas of the summer - whilst Mateo Kovacic is doing the same with Manchester City. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is close to moving to AC Milan.

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Levi Colwill is having the trust put in him as a bid for his services from Brighton has been rejected early doors; elsewhere Manuel Ugarte is being pushed for. Things are happening at rapid speed but that is what was always needed. After a month of talks with Mauricio Pochettino there wasn't room for delay.

Now, it appears Kai Havertz could be the next to leave the club and few could argue with the rationale behind it. According to reports in Spain, Real Madrid are keen to sign the German this summer. Three years on from his move to London from Bayer Leverkusen, Los Blancos are finally in a position to make the transfer.

For Chelsea, Havertz was a no-brainer at the time. He was one of the rising stars in the world game and seen as a pillar to build around for all elite teams across the continent. Madrid were just one of the many sides that wanted to make him theirs but the Covid-19 pandemic and financial hit meant that it was far from a buyer's market.

Chelsea took advantage of an opportunity that otherwise wouldn't have existed and made Havertz a statement signing. 32 goals later he has hardly made a massive splash. His 19 league goals across three seasons is massively disappointing. Even for a player still only 23, the Havertz experiment has a big enough sample size to confidently say there aren't going to be many better days.

There are mitigating reasons for his overall failure. Miscast as a midfield attacking No.8 by Frank Lampard initially before moving to the right-wing and then as an orthodox striker, Havertz has rarely been given a similar set-up to that in which he thrived in Germany. Often deployed as a shadow striker in Bundesliga, he never had such facilities to work with at Chelsea.

Then again, here is a player that has consistently shown flashes and small patches of brilliance. His international record is good; the comparison with Thomas Muller makes sense. Havertz has simply not done enough throughout much of his Chelsea career to warrant another try.

New managers have given hope that fresh ideas, new blood and excitement around him will make things work but this is a step too far. It is feasible to do that same with Pochettino, to say that as a goalscoring forward that likes to run in-behind as a good presser from the front, there might be room for him.

But Havertz isn't a goalscorer. He underperformed his xG by 4.6, nobody had more in the squad. His seasons at Leverkusen were founded off overperformance in front of goal, when that goes he had little else to work with in England.

So here are Madrid. The big dogs in need of a new play toy. Karim Benzema is leaving, the club have confirmed, and Kylian Mbappe is an ongoing transfer saga that is waiting to happen yet again. Like everyone else, they want Harry Kane; but it's Havertz that is perhaps a closer fit to what Benzema once was. A deeper-lying attacker capable of arriving in the box and also linking play.

Chelsea need this deal to make sense to the higher-ups at Santiago Bernabeu because it won't for many others. Bayern Munich have their attentions on Kane, Victor Osimhen and Randal Kolo Muani. Havertz doesn't solve their goalscoring issues like others and money is another big factor.

The Blues will be keen to recoup as much of the £68.9million they paid for him in 2019. By amortised terms they have gotten just over half of their money's worth with him in transfer fees, and would need just £27.6million back to come out of this unscathed on the books.

Not only would getting a cash injection back for Havertz been financially positive, it creates room for one of the key additions needed this summer no matter who leaves. A striker is paramount and whereas Benzema is unlikely and unneeded at 35, Kane is a different story.

Living in London and with the prospect of a Pochettino reunion, Kane's 17 league goals scored this season with his right foot is six more than Havertz has in his Premier League career with both feet, and in 53 fewer games. If there was ever evidence of a clear quality and fit gap, then this is it.

Chelsea can no longer afford to waste time on the what-ifs of the broken and failed Havertz experiment: it's time to cut the losses and find a new answer.


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2023-06-04T18:02:20Z dg43tfdfdgfd