London (AP) – Kai Havertz grins at the camera. The exceptional talent, the most expensive German national footballer since Friday, stands on the glorious Stamford Bridge, holding his new blue jersey with the number 3 on his back, which is unusual for him.
“I couldn’t be prouder,” writes the 21-year-old, who reportedly moved from Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea for £ 100m. The Instagram photo of the young star is almost a symbol of a trend that Joachim Löw also likes.
“You start all over again, regardless of what you have achieved or shown before. And that is of course a personality school,” said the national coach about Havertz’s move to the British capital and actually about transfers of young players abroad. The professionals “come to a different life culture, that sometimes helps”, added the national coach. The national team too, of course.
Of the 20 players that Löw still had in the selection for Sunday’s Nations League game in Switzerland, only ten are employed by Bundesliga clubs. However, the DFB head coach had waived four three-time winners from FC Bayern and two of the semi-finalists from RB Leipzig.
Robin Gosens made his debut against Spain on Thursday after a strong season with Atalanta Bergamo. Robin Koch (24) moved to Leeds United this summer, Luca Waldschmidt (24) to Benfica Lisbon. Both left SC Freiburg, where Löw often sat in the stands for the corona pandemic.
“In the past ten years,” said the national team manager, he had seen “some players” who were “grown-ups” abroad. The latest good example is new Münchener Leroy Sané (24), who moved from Schalke 04 to Manchester City at the age of 20 and took a big step into world class under star coach Pep Guardiola and as teammate of Ilkay Gündogan. At Havertz too, Löw spoke about the possible “next career leap”.
World champion Toni Kroos certainly has this behind him. “Kai is now facing the next step and a new situation. He has to get used to that first,” said the Real Madrid midfielder in an interview with “Bild am Sonntag”.
In short, the 30-year-old sees moving abroad as an opportunity to develop further. “That makes you better as a player, that makes you better as a personality”, said Kroos in the “Current Sports Studio” of the ZDF. It would be good for everyone to deal with the pressure to overcome the strong competition. There is also another language.
Gündogan said in an interview with “Welt am Sonntag”: “It has been striking for a while that German players have become more interesting for foreign clubs again.” According to him, this is because of “the high-quality training and also the quality of Bundesliga football”. The players “realize more that they can gain important experience abroad”.
Before Havertz, who was born in Aachen and reportedly also courted by other big clubs, Timo Werner (24) from RB Leipzig had already switched to the Blues in London this summer. Antonio Rüdiger (27) has been playing for Chelsea since 2017. “That makes it a little easier to get started,” Loew said. His coaching colleague Frank Lampard can count on a German axis in the Premier League.
In order not to jeopardize that, Löw did without Havertz last Thursday in the 1-1 draw against Spain, although Havertz would have done the German game well. “When it comes to such dimensions, we all know the size, it would not have made sense. We have the responsibility, A for the player and B for German football,” said the national team manager.
Last year, Sané’s move to FC Bayern failed as Guardiola had deployed the attacking man in the Community Shield and subsequently suffered a cruciate ligament rupture. Havertz was spared such a scenario and his dream came true when he switched to the blues.
Chelsea FC’s media division announced the new addition to the club’s website as a Bundesliga all-rounder. Hymns have accompanied the midfielder since the beginning of his career. Bayer sports director Rudi Völler praised the 21-year-old as “already world-class”. Havertz is “absolutely one of the best who have ever played for Bayer 04”.
Despite all the appreciation for his national player’s decision, Löw also noted a negative aspect. “When players and such great talents as Kai leave the Bundesliga, I always think that is a bad thing,” said the national coach, “because the German fans naturally like to see such players.”