Exclusive – Chelsea have stepped up their pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen forward Kai Havertz amid concerns over the progress of winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The 19-year-old was handed a contract worth close to £130,000-a-week back in September to fend off interest from Bayern Munich, who offered more than £30m to sign him, but he has managed just seven Premier League starts this season.
Obviously, his Achilles injury which he picked up towards the end of last season has stunted his progress, while a few other injury concerns have also prevented the Englishman from getting a consistent run in the team, but a source has confirmed to 90min that Chelsea are beginning to grow concerned by his lack of development.
The Blues are well aware of the challenges of overcoming an Achilles injury, having watched Ruben Loftus-Cheek battle the same sort of thing over the last year, but while Loftus-Cheek has managed 139 minutes since football’s return, Hudson-Odoi has managed just 14.
Manager Frank Lampard is understood to have spoken to Hudson-Odoi about his concerns, and while the plan was always to bolster the forward options this summer by signing Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, Hudson-Odoi’s current struggles have seen Chelsea turn to Havertz.
Chelsea diverted away from the running for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and have instead turned to Havertz, after receiving glowing references about the Leverkusen man. They are already in contact with the player’s representatives and have learned that the German would consider moving to Stamford Bridge.
There is a slight concern over Bayern Munich’s interest in Havertz. The Bundesliga champions have already admitted that they will not push to sign him this summer and instead want to wait for a transfer in 2021.
However, after fending off Liverpool ‘s interest in Werner, Chelsea are confident that they will be able to convince Havertz to make the move to the Bridge this summer at Bayern’s expense.
The 21-year-old has two years left on his contract at BayArena, and Chelsea hope to use that to their advantage in negotiations with Leverkusen, who are keen to receive close to the £90m mark if they part ways with Havertz this summer.
For more from ?Tom Gott, follow him on ?Twitter!