Frank Lampard's side are yet to agree a fee for the 21-year-old but remain hopeful they can drive down the £90 million asking price given Havertz has indicated he does not want to stay at the Bundesliga club for another season.
Bayern Munich have already pulled out of the running and with several other clubs reluctant to commit such significant funds on one player, Chelsea have been left in pole position. Real Madrid retain an interest but have not yet shown a willingness to make a formal offer.
Lampard is keen to revamp his attack having already completed the signings of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and Timo Werner from RB Leipzig. Havertz can play as a central striker but also as a No. 10 or out on the flank and that versatility is seen as an important trait as Lampard attempts to build a team with more unpredictability.
The club are not under immediate pressure to sell having served a FIFA transfer ban last summer and opting not to enter the market in January when having their suspension reduced on appeal.
The Brazil-born midfielder has not played much since the restart but sources have told ESPN that Lampard's preference is to keep him next season.