Emmanuel Petit has urged Chelsea’s fans to remain patient with their misfiring new arrivals but admitted he has concerns over struggling forward Kai Havertz.
A number of last summer’s big-name signings have found life difficult since completing their moves to Stamford Bridge, with Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech also showing patchy form.
So far Chelsea are yet to see a decent return on their investments, but Petit – who had spells in France, England and Spain during his playing career – knows just how difficult it can be to hit the ground running.
Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Crystal Palace v Chelsea, Petit said: “I think moving countries and changing cultures is a big ask – you need to adapt yourself and sometimes it takes longer than people may expect.
“It’s difficult to do it quickly, which is what makes Bruno Fernandes so impressive. But we have to give these players time.
“Not only are they moving to another country with lots of expectation, but they are coming at a strange time in the world with COVID-19.
“This is not a normal time for anyone, and we need to remember this in cases like Timo Werner.”
Chelsea shelled out £53m on Werner, around £70m on Havertz and another £36m on Ziyech, but none of the trio have really produced anywhere near their best form thus far.
Werner has been the most notable disappointment due to the stark difference between his scoring records last season for Leipzig and this campaign at Chelsea.
He has also showed a lack of confidence in front of goal, resulting in several glaring misses.
Meanwhile, Havertz has failed to truly stamp his mark at the Bridge and neither Frank Lampard nor Thomas Tuchel have quite figured out where to position him within their teams.
“I’m not worried about Timo Werner, though – I’m more worried about Kai Havertz,” Petit continued. “Werner has got the personality to get over this season and turn things around.
“You’ve got to remember at RB Leipzig he was the central figure in a team largely centred around a counter-attacking brand of football, and that’s not a style Chelsea operate with.
“So that’s something him and his teammates have to get used to, and that kind of thing takes time.”
He added: “Chelsea are a very possession-based club, but when they do play on the counter attack all of a sudden you see Werner’s qualities. I’ve seen plenty of good things from him on the pitch and I’m sure he’ll bounce back.
“But Havertz gives me more worries, because of his personality. I know he’s very young but I think he’s very shy. He needs to fight and show his personality on the pitch.”