Kai Havertz is finally winning argument with Arsenal fans and proving why the ‘snowflake’ has had £135m splashed on him
HE’S cost around £135million in combined transfer fees.
He’s scored the winner in a Champions League final.
At 24, he’s played for the current leaders of the Bundesliga and the Premier League and he’s been a European and world club champion elsewhere.
Supremely versatile, he operates as a centre-forward, a No .10, a central midfielder and last month he scored an international goal while playing at left-back.
He is genuinely two-footed, good in the air, stands at 6ft 4in but possesses a velvet touch and a rare footballing intelligence.
We are talking about Kai Havertz, a man who suffered dog’s abuse from a sizeable proportion of his own supporters after his £65mmove from Chelsea to Arsenal.
After four goals in his last seven games (and it would have been five but for a questionable VAR call at Villa Park), the German is starting to win over that difficult crowd at the Emirates.
And while Declan Rice is rightly hailed as the summer signing most likely to turn Arsenal from contenders into champions, Havertz is showing he can also play a significant role.
Many wondered why Mikel Arteta shelled out such a vast sum on Havertz, when an out-and-out goalscorer appeared the more obvious hole in Arsenal’s squad.
And what is Havertz exactly? What does he do? Where is his best position?
Personally, though, I’ve always had a great appreciation of Havertz.
The bloke who sitsto me when I go to cover Chelsea sometimes uses this as proof of my inability to properly understand .
But football is a game of opinions and just because my colleague’son Havertz is wrong, he’s perfectly entitled to hold it.
has sold more than 150million records worldwide. So people are often wrong.
Havertz, who scored Chelsea’s goal in the 1-0 Champions League final win overin 2021, is an acquired taste.
He’s one for the purists. And he’s a throwback too. Watch most Premier League matches live and you willat the extreme tempo — the pace, the athleticism and the appetite of players are constantly improving.
But Havertz isn’t about all that. He is a player who can slow things down, pick a pass and manipulate a football like Dimitar Berbatov and few other players to have ever graced the Premier League.
Like the great Bulgarian before him, he operates best when given the tactical freedom to knit play together.
He’s a drifter and he’s an artist.
While most players in the English top flight possess a manic work-rate and a demonic desire to run, Havertz can appear languid and waft around the pitch.
He can be regarded as aplayer. A snowflake.
In such a rarefied environment as the Premier League, he can look like the sickly child who usually brings in a sick note to avoid PE.
Unless, like Gunners boss Arteta, you know what you’re looking for.
The Arsenal fans who wondered about Havertz and criticised him early on were not entirely wrong.
The former Bayer Leverkusen man suffered a difficult start and, like pretty much every player who spent last season at Chelsea, he was low on confidence.
Most players take time to settle at a new club and while Rice was always likely to hit the ground running after his £105m switch from, it was unsurprising that Havertz needed more patience.
But a midfield trio of Rice, Havertz and Martin Odegaard is one capable of winning the Premier League.
And when the top two in the table meet at Anfield on Saturday, with the winners taking theNo 1 spot, that Arsenal threesome can prove it.
Liverpool, as always, will attack with thunderous intensity and press like men possessed.
And there will be times out there when Havertz might appear like a lost soul.
But watch closely and he’ll do something special.
On current form, he will do something game-changing.
Because you don’t have £135m spent on you and you don’t win the Champions League and you don’t start for the Premier League leaders without being a seriously good player.
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