Chelsea boss Frank Lampard may be signing another Andriy Shevchenko this transfer window
Chelsea fans are right to be celebrating the arrival of Kai Havertz. Roman Abramovich has taken the wheel for this one, with the Russian and the Blues board pushing for the Bayer Leverkusen star instead of Frank Lampard. And the last time Chelsea did that, they got Andriy Shevchenko. A deal they’d no doubt rather forget.
While it’s too early to judge for sure, Chelsea appear to be the big winners from the 2020 summer transfer window so far.
The Blues have been efficient, bringing in five faces so far. Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Malang Sarr, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell have all signed on the dotted line.
And, now, Chelsea are about to secure signing No 6. Havertz is on his way and has undergone a medical ahead of his blockbuster £72million move to Stamford Bridge.
For this deal, it’s not been Lampard in the driving seat.
Instead, Chelsea’s board have been pushing to bring the 21-year-old to the capital. They feel that, with no competition due to the pandemic, now is the time to strike.
Havertz is certainly an exciting signing. The Germany international appeared jaded in the first half of the season, seemingly struggling with the pressure placed on his shoulders.
But he rallied by the end of the campaign, finishing the Bundesliga season with 12 goals and six assists to his name as Leverkusen narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification.
Chelsea supporters have a right to feel excited.
But what’s worth noting is that Abramovich has done this before, signed players regardless of how the manager feels about them.
And, out of all the players the Russian has funded throughout his time at the capital, Shevchenko remains one of the biggest blotches on his record.
In the summer of 2006, Chelsea were eyeing reinforcements. With Manchester United strengthening up north, the Blues knew they needed more superstars as they looked to win a third title on the trot.
And Abramovich felt it necessary to sign Shevchenko, who had made the decision to leave Serie A giants AC Milan for a new challenge elsewhere.
The Ukraine international was operating at the peak of his powers at the time. He scored 28 goals from 40 appearances in his final season at the San Siro, having scored 26 from 40 the previous year.
Shevchenko was a player entering the prime years of his career. And Abramovich felt his signing was necessary, particularly with his eyes firmly on the Champions League title as well.
Except Jose Mourinho, manager at the time, didn’t feel the same way.
The current Tottenham boss had Didier Drogba as his main striker, while also having Salamon Kalou (a new arrival) at his disposal. He also had Hernan Crespo and Eider Gudjohnsen.
But, against his will, he was forced to take Shevchenko on board.
He admitted after his sacking that he never wanted the Ukrainian, saying: “He was like a prince in Milan and at Chelsea our philosophy was different, we had no princes.
“Everybody needs to work like everybody else and everybody needs to prove he deserves to play.
“I think maybe he lost some self-confidence. Step by step a player goes in the wrong direction.
“He was not my first option but the club gave him to me as a second option.”
Things never worked out for Shevchenko. Mourinho spent a year trying to get him back to his Milan best but he never took to the forward.
In the end, things were taken out of his hands. Mourinho was sacked in 2007, with Avram Grant coming in as his replacement.
Lampard may be better than Mourinho than coaxing the best from a player he hasn’t been fully behind signing in the first place.
But only time will tell. The Blues could and should be onto a winner with Havertz. But Shevchenko: the sequel can’t be ruled out either.