Last night saw Germany get dumped out of the FIFA World Cup group stages for the second time in a row. The 2014 world champions defeated Costa Rica 4-2 in their last Group E encounter but the defeat to Japan and draw against Spain earlier meant they could only finish third in the group.
Not many Germany players could cover themselves in glory given their performances but one player who stood out last night and gave them a glimmer of hope was forward Kai Havertz.
After coming on as a substitute the Chelsea ace scored two goals to help Germany reclaim their lead after being 2-1 down. His exploits, in turn, helped Spain achieve qualification for the Round of 16 despite their loss to Japan.
Havertz has been with Chelsea since 2020 but has not had the easiest life in London. However, it could have all turned out very different for the 23-year-old as he could have signed for Barcelona in the summer of 2019.
Indeed, according to SPORT, Havertz was a serious option that Barça were considering in the summer of 2019 following his breakthrough at Bayer Leverkusen. The then-technical secretary Ramon Planes had watched the German forward closely during the 2018/19 campaign and had recommended the club sign him.
At the time, Leverkusen were asking for around €70 million for Havertz, although there was room for negotiations. Barcelona had good reports on the German, both at a sporting and a personal level and even held talks with him.
Havertz himself reportedly appeared keen on signing for the Blaugrana. However, the La Liga giants saw the move as a high-risk one as they felt that the 23-year-old, who excelled as a playmaker, could find it difficult to adapt at the club similar to Cesc Fabregas.
On top of that, the board of directors were also pushing to sign Antoine Griezmann instead. And as it turned out, Barcelona ended up splashing in excess of €100 million to trigger the Frenchman’s release clause and sign him from Atletico Madrid.
Meanwhile, Havertz remained at Bayer Leverkusen for one more year before joining Chelsea in 2021. In his very first season, the German ace scored a goal in the finals of the UEFA Champions League to help them beat Manchester City and win the trophy.