Kai Havertz has emerged as the most sought-after talent in European football.
Since the start of the season, his representatives have been aware of at least six elite clubs across Spain, England and Germany that are interested in signing him.
Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Bayern Munich are the teams that have been most closely tracking him—and his recent performances since the Bundesliga restarted have only increased the interest.
Havertz, 20 (21 on Thursday), is an intelligent forward who can play anywhere across the front line. He possesses speed, agility and close control. His decision-making is good, and his goal contribution is impressive.
He is a great attacking midfielder, while his displays as a centre-forward in recent weeks have proved that he can lead the attack as well as drop between the lines and filter wide.
And it is with all this in mind that Bayer Leverkusen believe he is still worth €100 million, even in these times when fees are expected to drop because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chelsea are the latest club being linked with Havertz, and we have consequently called upon B/R sources to run through his potential landing spots, starting in England.
Chelsea have held interest in Timo Werner, Jadon Sancho, Moussa Dembele and Havertz for most of the season but knew they would face stiff competition on all fronts.
Sami Mokbel and Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail linked the club with Bayer Leverkusen's brilliant 20-year-old attacker this week, and sources have confirmed to Bleacher Report that they are "100 per cent trying" to secure his signature.
Willian and Pedro leaving the club means they want Hakim Ziyech and one other attacker to come in to add competition and depth. Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi already offer options, but B/R understands that Chelsea's coaching staff believe they are still one stellar signing away from being at the level they desire.
There are also some small ongoing concerns about Hudson-Odoi's development and how much to expect of him.
It is understood Chelsea will have around £140 million to spend this summer, so even after the £53 million Werner signing, there is cash available. There is also the possibility of player sales to bring in more money.
He has been on their radar for over a year as his versatility and sharp brain have huge appeal to City.
Signing him would mean breaking their transfer record, and club insiders have been playing down the prospect of a new forward arriving this summer.
However, figures around the club believe Havertz would be an ideal signing if Leroy Sane finally makes his move to Bayern Munich—and such a moment could provide the signal for them to make their interest known.
Jadon Sancho is the priority signing, but United do have alternatives listed, with Havertz among them.
Ansu Fati was linked with an £89 million move to United on Monday by Sport, but sources indicate that rumour is wide of the mark and that he has not even been spoken about.
Havertz ticks plenty of boxes for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer—who is an admirer.
Officially, the club are playing it cool over their interest. Last week, when Alan Nixon of The Sun reported he had emerged as a potential signing, sources at United poured cold water over the idea.
On Monday, Sky Germany (h/t Sport Witness) also reported their interest, and while United insist they are not looking to sign him, you do wonder whether work is going on in the background.
After refusing to meet top target Timo Werner's €60 million release clause, it would seem unlikely they are going to splash out even more than that on Havertz.
Manager Jurgen Klopp would love to work with him, there is no doubt about that, and Liverpool are keen to find a new alternative option in attack to Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.
But Liverpool have hope that Takumi Minamino and Harvey Elliott will play bigger roles in the wide positions next season, and sources around the club continue to play down any potential of signing Havertz.
Last weekend was supposed to be a big audition for Havertz, with his current side facing Bayern in the Bundesliga.
However, Havertz had a muscle problem that ruled him out. It's a shame, because this could have been the performance that decided his future.
For most German agents and journalists, Bayern have always been the expected landing spot for Havertz. There is a feeling he would opt to stay in Germany for the time being and then test himself abroad after cementing himself as one of Bundesliga's biggest stars.
Bayern's pursuit of Sane is a barrier to Havertz joining this summer, but they have always been favourites to sign him, and it would be silly to rule this out.
This could have been a big summer for Madrid in the transfer market, as Havertz was pencilled in alongside the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland as serious attacking targets.
They are having to rethink their approach because of the impact of COVID-19 on their accounts, but they were the first club to make contact with Bayer Leverkusen, which signals intent.
Before the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the world, Madrid had been considering an €80 million offer for Havertz. It is thought he is still of interest, but it is more likely they have the Germany international in mind for 2021.
There is so much at stake for Havertz here—he has to pick the right club and not risk the progression of his career. But he also has to choose the best moment to leave.
Some of the clubs mentioned, particularly Bayern and Madrid, would prefer to wait a year before taking him—but there is believed to be an increasing temptation for the player to move soon.
Barcelona could yet become a seventh option, sources believe, but each club is waiting for someone to make the first move.
Developments over Chelsea's interest have undoubtedly escalated this situation for other teams, especially as sources are indicating the player is interested in the move to London.
But just days after Chelsea trumped Liverpool for the signing of Werner, there will be an air of caution around Stamford Bridge that the same thing could yet happen to them.
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