Voller: Leverkusen sold Havertz because we already had his replacement
Havertz left Leverkusen in the summer transfer window to join Chelsea for an initial fee reported to be around £62 million, along with senior goalscorer Kevin Volland who joined Monaco.
However, rather than falter without their key players, Peter Bosz’s side have flourished after putting their faith in young players like Wirtz, Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey.
Wirtz, in particular, has been key to Leverkusen’s success with two goals and four assists in 11 games in Havertz ’s old position, as his side have marched to the top of the German top flight without losing a single match.
And according to Voller this was all planned when Wirtz was plucked from FC Koln’s youth academy in January.
“We were convinced that our team would be good even without Kai [Havertz] and Kevin [Volland],” Voller told BILD.
“That’s why we made a conscious decision to say that we expect a lot from the players we brought in last year. That happened.
“We all were of the clear opinion that we don’t have to look for a replacement for Kai because we also have Florian.
“We weren’t allowed to block his way. That would have been the completely wrong decision. We were convinced to put our trust in Flo.
“He does it wonderfully, just like the many others who have taken on more responsibility. And he sees: what we promised him has come true.
“Even a little more than that. In Peter Bosz, Florian has a coach who shapes and encourages very young players.”
Tonight Leverkusen’s new-look side will face their toughest test to date, with reigning German and European champions Bayern Munich visiting the BayArena for a match that will surely have an impact on which team looks more likely to challenge for the title for the remainder of the season.
Whether Havertz’s replacement really is up to the task of matching his predecessor remains to be seen in the long-term but tonight’s clash will undoubtedly go some way to answering that question.