So far, that has not happened – but a move into the centre forward role for Chelsea could be the beginning of a change. Havertz was signed to play either off a forward or as a wide player who comes narrowly into the middle of the pitch. That, though, has yet to yield results – and it could lead new coach Tuchel giving the German a chance to play upfront on his own. Havertz decided to drop Tammy Abraham for the game at Manchester United, and Tuchel believed that Havertz offered a different tactical change that the English forward couldn’t.
Why is Kai Havertz playing up front for Chelsea?
When asked to explain his thinking after the draw with United, the Chelsea boss said that he did not need Abraham because he had Havertz as an auxiliary striker. Speaking after the game in his press conference, Tuchel said: “It was about judging the alternatives that we have, and we opted for Olivier Giroud to begin, Timo Werner on the bench. We have Kai Havertz who can play as a number nine, so there was no need to bring a fourth number nine to the pitch.
“Things are difficult for him [Abraham]. Things are not as easy as they should be for him at the moment, and he will get full support.”
Havertz was previously mentioned to be a “between a nine and a ten” by the new Chelsea coach, who might see him playing a false nine role similar to what he tried out at times when the Borussia Dortmund manager. The German tactician is known to be flexible with his thinking, and the experiment for Havertz to play as a more roaming, floating forward could be the ideal solution to get the best out of what is a deeply precocious talent.
Despite failing to make the progress that some would have hoped, Havertz has time on his side. Progress can come from a full season working with a manager who has his respect and his intrigue. Under Tuchel, then, expect Havertz to take on a great many roles as he becomes an increasingly important cog in the Tuchel machine.