Richarlison Chelsea transfer decision will force Thomas Tuchel to face £ 72m dilemma – Daniel Childs

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History could be about to repeat itself for Kai Havertz. In recent days it has become apparent that the Blues have joined a London race for Everton forward Richarlison and maybe for Havertz, there is a sense of deja vu growing.

It was this time 12 months ago when Chelsea were chasing a new forward in the market, this only a month after the German had arguably netted the second biggest goal in the club’s entire history.

Havertz was the “best on earth” as supporters birthed a new adoring chant to the tune of Belinda Carlisle’s classic. As the weeks of the 2021 summer window passed and with no new forward in sight, some believed the best option was for Thomas Tuchel to stick with Havertz as the main forward.

READ MORE: Chelsea know Richarlison’s dream as Thomas Tuchel steps up transfer interest in Everton star

By early August that all changed with the record-breaking arrival of Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan. With the Belgian now embarrassingly on his way back to Serie A on loan, Havertz again finds himself neatly positioned as the main forward.

Richarlison is an interesting target, one with guile and flair mixed in with a bit of fury which sparks comparisons to a previous Chelsea player I will on this occasion avoid mentioning. Clue: it’s what you get instead of a Starbucks. Where this potential deal would leave Havertz is a curious one. And in general, where Havertz goes at Stamford Bridge is an interesting conversation to have.

Two years ago, Havertz £ 71m signing from Bayer Leverkusen felt like a landmark moment. It was Chelsea beating out some of Europe’s biggest clubs to acquire what many believe to be a generational talent.

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It had all the hallmarks of the deal to sign Eden Hazard eight years before from Lille. This was a long-term plan for a talent who would come to define his era at Stamford Bridge. About to head into his third season, Havertz still sits in a confusing place.

He, like Hazard, has contributed to some big moments. Havertz has scored 23 goals in 93 appearances for Chelsea, 14 in total in 2021/22 which was an improvement on his tally of nine from 2020/21. The Champions League and Club World Cup-winning goals are moments players work their whole careers to achieve – he has completed them before the age of 25. There are flashes that show why Chelsea chased his signature for over 12 months

Though the fact Tuchel may still be looking to invest heavily in new central strikers tells its own story about the doubts in the final third which go beyond Havertz.

This is not to argue players at Chelsea must be shielded from competition. Mason Mount is the finest example of a young talent using it as inspiration to improve and reassert his place within the first team. Havertz will have to do similar given the links to Raheem Sterling, Ousmane Dembele and Richarlison.

Todd Boehly is looking to make statement additions and Tuchel knows that his team need to vastly improve in attack next season to have any chance of closing the gap to the top two and retaining their Champions League spot. However, given the sheer amount invested in Havertz, you do have to wonder what continuously signing new strikers suggests?

We have not seen the 23-year-old given a full-season run as the Blues first-choice striker. It took until March in his maiden year for Tuchel to try him in a central role. In his second, he got more chances but split out across two periods before and after Christmas, as Lukaku’s awkward adaptation dominated the conversation.

Given the amount of investment needed in defense, midfield and in wider attacking positions, the Havertz project needs room to flourish and grow if the club hopes to see their long-term investment pay dividends. Signing Richarlison would create competition, but maybe more confusion.

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