Kai Havertz has the creativity to succeed in the Premier League, according to Lukas Podolski, but the ex-Germany international says the Chelsea target still has a long way to go to thrive at the top of English football.
The 21-year-old is at the top of the Blues’ wish list as Frank Lampard looks to bolster his young squad following a top-four finish and an FA Cup final appearance last season.
Havertz has yielded prolific results for Leverkusen since he made his senior debut in 2016, becoming the youngest player to clock up 100 games in the Bundesliga and having netted 46 goals across all competitions, with a string of caps for Joachim Low’s national side also duly picked up since 2018.
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Leverkusen CEO Fernando Carro admitted that the attacking midfielder was ready to “make the next step” in his career earlier this week and Chelsea have long been among the favourites to secure his services.
Asked on whether he feels Havertz can further bolster his reputation with a move to English football, former Arsenal man Podolski highlighted both the player’s strengths and weaknesses and how his own experiences informed his opinion of the Premier League — but not before cracking wise about his former club’s rivalry with Leverkusen.
“Why are you asking me about a Leverkusen player?” the 35-year-old joked to The Athletic. “I’m [a] Cologne [man] and they are our rivals along with Gladbach and Dusseldorf.
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“[But] he’s a great talent. On the ball he is so creative, but he’s still young — let’s see if he can fit into the Premier League. I think he is still missing some strength and power, but he should taste the drink of the Premier League and see if he likes it.
“I did, but I knew I would like it. I’m strong, I have a good shot, I’m from the street, I’m like a pitbull. I knew I could deal with the Premier League with the long balls, the physical side and the referees. It was perfect for me and we had a good team and atmosphere at Arsenal.”
Podolski played in the Gunners’ 2014 FA Cup final victory over Hull City at Wembley, just weeks before he helped his nation to World Cup glory in Brazil.
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