June 21, 2021

Rudiger hails ‘great talent’ Havertz as Chelsea aim to seal €76m transfer

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The Blues are attempting to bring in the Bayer Leverkusen star having already signed Timo Werner from the Bundesliga this summer

Antonio Rudiger has labelled Chelsea transfer target Kai Havertz a “great talent” as the Blues step up their pursuit of the Bayer Leverkusen star.

As reported by Goal, Frank Lampard’s side are pushing to complete the signing of the Germany international and will next look to agree a fee after establishing that the forward wants to move to Stamford Bridge.

Leverkusen have yet to receive any official offers for Havertz after setting an asking price of around €100m (£90m/$111m), although is felt that a lower fee will ultimately be negotiated at around €76m (£70m/$87m).

And Rudiger, who knows the 21-year-old from their time in the international set-up, has talked up his talents ahead of a possible switch to west London in the summer.

When asked about Havertz, a smiling Rudiger said: “Has he been linked with us? He is a great talent and he had a very good season. He is also very young and we will see what happens [with his future].”

Rudiger also played his part in helping convince Timo Werner, who he played alongside at Stuttgart, to make the move to the Blues, with the Germany international striker having joined the club in a £47.5m ($59m) deal.

Having been dubbed #AgentRudiger on social media, the centre-back commented: “My friends told me about it (about the nickname] but I just tried to help out because everyone knows and can read about how we played together.

“There’s a bond, so I just did what I had to do. We spoke a lot during the lockdown and I have known him for a long time through playing in the national team and at Stuttgart together. It’s nice to see how his career has gone and how he developed every year, getting better and scoring more goals and getting more assists.

“I am very happy for him that he has now managed to take that step like me to leave Germany and come to the UK. I think it is a good sign if you can get people like him in the club because he is also still young but he showed that he can score goals and I hope that he can do the same here that he did in Germany.

“At the beginning, it was not easy for him because he was only 17 when he came into the squad and he was a little kid, very thin, but now, over time, I think he went to the gym because he is bigger!

“Each year you see how good his statistics are. Every year he scored more than the last and his qualities are in scoring goals. I hope he can do that for us but the most important thing is that he stays healthy and he adapts to many different things.

“I was one of the people who helped convince him to come here so it is also my job to help him [settle in]. Of course, we speak the same language but he does speak very good English too. The thing is, with this job, and as a team, we all have to help him. We will do that for him.”

Ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final against Arsenal, Olivier Giroud is likely to lead the line once again for the Blues. And Rudiger was full of praise for the Frenchman and how he’s conducted himself, particularly with all the speculation around his future back in January.

“He is definitely a leader,” the German defender added. “He is always someone to speak; someone people look up to. He won the World Cup. Oli is a very confident guy, but with this World Cup win comes more confidence.

“But he is not arrogant. He is a very good guy on and off the pitch. He is someone everyone looks up to. I look up to him and massive respect to him [for his attitude in January]. He always kept his cool, always stayed professional, always worked hard and he fought his way back.

“I’m very happy for him. It was a difficult season for him. In the first six months, he wasn’t really there. Then there were all these rumours he is going. But in the end, he stayed and I’m very happy because he showed his qualities.

“We are all human and maybe there are some days where you don’t laugh as much as you normally do when you are playing. That’s normal. But he has always been fair. When he was on the pitch, he was giving his all.

“When he was on the bench, he always supported the team. There was nothing you can say that was negative about him.”