I’ll support Arteta’s decision, but I’m still unsure about Havertz for 65 million

I Just Don’t See It by Dan Smith

Let me stress that I will support anybody when they first pull on the red and white shirt. If Mikel Arteta sees something in Kai Havertz, then let’s give both parties the benefit of the doubt.

I admire our manager for having the self-belief to believe he can get something out of a talent that Chelsea couldn’t.

Arsene Wenger had a history of changing a player’s position, spotting strengths that the individual didn’t see in himself.

There’s talk that Arteta doesn’t just see Havertz as an option to play across the front three but that he can train the 24-year-old to learn the Xhaka role.

Yet if I asked what are the German’s strengths? You don’t come up with an obvious answer.

65 million is a lot for a player whom you can’t identify his major attributes right away.

That’s not a reflection on the Gunners, more an indictment of the current window.

60-70 million once brought you a difference maker, someone who guarantees you 20 goals a season.

Three years in English Football, Havertz is yet to get into double figures for League goals.

Say that out loud, 65 million for an attacker who’s most goals in the Prem is just 8.

His reputation at Stamford Bridge was a poor finisher who would fail to covert several one-on-one opportunities.

Martinelli, Jesus, Saka and Odegaard have earnt the right to start the next campaign as our first choice attacking options.

Back in the Champions League, we do need more quality options off the bench.

In the title run-in, apart from Trossard, our quality regressed when we made subs.

Eddie and Reiss are still proving they belong at this level and are not changes you make if you want to be Champions.

Havertz is better than Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah, but is that all you get for 65 million, an upgrade on Eddie and Reiss?

Mentally the pressure of a title race was too big a step for one of the youngest squads in the division.

I wouldn’t call Havertz a leader, someone who you can rely on when your facing adversity. I have seen him go missing many times and easily bullied.

Should I be writing that for someone valued at 65 million?

The hope is we get the Bayer Leverkusen version of Havertz, where he had a reputation in Europe as one of the best youngsters.

Lukaku, Salah, De Bruyne … there are several examples of players who progressed better after moving away from West London.

The trio didn’t get anywhere close to playing over 130 times for the Blues though.

Some Gooners are getting their excuses in early if we miss out on Declan Rice.

The most common stance being that Edu should be praised for refusing to pay over the odds instead wanting to find value.

Worryingly we used to hear the same the last time we were in the Champions League.

The only issue with pretending you want to save money is; your giving Chelsea 65 million for Havertz!

If West Ham see that, of course they will equally want over the odds for Rice!

I’ll support Havertz like anyone else and want to be proven wrong, but I just don’t see it.

Dan Smith

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Tags Kai Havertz


  1. Imho £45M should have been the absolute maximum we offered Chelsea for him and this is what I find a bit puzzling how we are hesitant to pay over the odds for Rice who has at least proven himself in this league to a good level and mostly importantly is widely reported to be Arteta’s priority target but are so willing to do so for Havertz who has been nothing but a flop champions final winning goal aside

    1. We shouldn’t even be looking at Kai in the first place. We are in the champions league FGS. We should be hoping to do one better in the league. Kai is not the caliber of player we should be looking at if we want to usurp city.

      1. Oh I’m with you 100% mate. So many questions marks around this signings and the fact it will take up a large amount of the budget when there are other priority positions that need strengthening I just don’t understand. Recouping almost all the transfer fee they bought him from Bayer Leverkusen after his poor three years at the club why do I get the feeling Todd Boehly and co are laughing all the way to the bank?

        One thing is for sure Arteta is taking a massive gamble, arguably his most riskiest signing ever to date all things considered which if it goes really well it will be hailed as genius however if proves disasterous could have ramifications come the end of next season. Time will tell…

  2. Havertz seems to be a jack-of-all-trades like Joao Felix. If you’d like to know how to maximize the usage of his strengths, watch how Tuchel won UCL with him as false-nine

    He recently played the same role for Germany. If he plays like that at Arsenal, he could interchange his position with Saka and click with our inverted-RB tactic

    I agree that £65m is too much for a non-homegrown CM, but that’s because he is a tall left-footed midfielder. We paid similar amount of money for Pepe, because he was a rare winger type

  3. I agree that this is an awful lot of money but all I can think of is that Arteta see’s something in him that makes him think he can be of great use to the team.
    I appreciate that many are confused why we are buying a player evidently in poor form but to Havertz’s defence he was playing in a team where everyone was playing terribly – it would be very difficult for him to raise himself above that and perform well
    Time will tell but I am sure Arteta and Edu would not take such a gamble when so much money is on the table.

  4. cool will be to pay 65m on Havertz and lose Rice for not offering 10m more…. I agree that we will support Havertz as we would support any player on our team, but I don’t believe that paying that price for him is more interesting than securing Rice right away

  5. Completely agree with the article, Dan. It’s a strange one but I think the strangeness of it gives me an odd confidence it will work out – I had the same thoughts with Ben White (sending saliba away and bringing in someone I’d seen as quite average), and odegaard to be honest (he’d been with us on loan for quite a while and didn’t look anything special).
    This one is definitely a risk, but havertz did something to gain a big reputation – enough that it’s probably still carrying his international career to an extent – so I am hopeful, despite all the well-founded doubts.

  6. I often slate DAN’s articles as being negative. . But in THIS piece, all I see is realism , writ large. I cannot find a single word to disagree about.
    Like DAN AND ALSO HOPEFULLY ALL REAL GOONERS, I will back MA s judgement in advance, but will not lie and pretend I have confidence in HAVERTZ proving so many of us on here MASSIVELY wrong.

    I only wish I am proved wrong but have great foreboding. And esp at such a HUGE FEE for someone who even Chelsea fans dont much rate at all.

    I know, as I am often on other clubs fansites, though I rarely post very much. But I read A GREAT DEAL!

    I would have more confidencein MA, if we had not also bought TAVARES, LOKONGA, VIERA, and re signed Elneny and kept Holding so long and pointlessly. REALISM!

  7. Kai is a very very good signing. He is strong enough and has already adapted to the league. Do you guys realize how difficult it is to play 9 for Chelsea? You can ask Timo, Lukaku and even Auba. I am surprised they are selling us a ready made player. I expect him to come in and hit the ground running. 50 would have been the ideal price but in terms of risk, he is lower risk compared to any talent you can buy outside of the premier league. We need that signing because I am convinced that without Trossard we would have collapsed earlier than we did. He is 24 and already has so much maturity in his play. No doubt about this signing, absolutely no debate over the quality of the signing but the price is debatable. This is with the understanding that the signing has no effect on Rice’s deal. We are not choosing Kai over Rice of course, that will be a big error since the need for central midfielders is more pressing.

  8. Completely understand why people have questions about this transfer. Think this article missed a few key points.

    Aerial threat – Havertz is tall (6ft 2in) and won a higher percentage of his aerial duels last season than both Ivan Toney and Alexander Mitrovic. This offers us something very different in our approach play. Not sure where the article got him being bullied from certainly not in the air and his general hold up play is excellent too as he is deceptively strong.

    Versatility – Havertz is completely two footed and can play anywhere forward from the 8 role on either side of the pitch. That is a massive asset. Particularly as we like to have our players rotate during our attacking phase.

    Movement – Linked to the above but perhaps his greatest asset is his ability to find/make space others can’t this is probably the main reason we are so keen as it suits our system. Married with his ability to hold the ball up another quality we lack to a degree this could really transform our attack.

    At the price I don’t think anyone could argue it’s not a gamble but I have a good feeling about this one think it will really click, let’s hope so.

      1. Didn’t mention goalscoring as that’s a clear weakness that was covered in your article that didn’t need correcting. Doesn’t change the fact he is fantastic in the air holding the ball up for others in the approach play and won’t be bullied that way.

        Adding goals to his game may define his overall reputation but I certainly see him scoring as many as Xhaka if he occupies that role.

          1. He wins more aerial duals than the majority of players in the league including those considered good in the air that supposedly bully the opposition in the air (this type comment is usually aimed at non-shooting headers by and large) and therefore is clearly very very good in the air. However in terms of heading on goal he hasn’t scored as many as he should demonstrating a weakness. The two are not mutually exclusive.

            He can still be good in the air and win the ball for us regularly without scoring goals with his head. Kind of similar to how someone can pass and dribble extremely well with their feet but not shoot to that level with the very same feet. Would you claim they are not good with their feet? Shouldn’t really need explaining like this should it?

            1. well they kind of
              if someone was good in the air you would use that assets for goals , either scoring or assisting
              apart from helping defend , what good is a player being good in the air if he doesn’t score or assists with his head ?

              1. Just to be clear Havertz was joint 5th for headed goals with his 3 last year, didn’t score nearly as many as he should have though hence the weakness. So you are kind of overreaching with this line of yours. 4th was Jesus on 4 and 3rd was Mitro on 6 both losing fat more duels. Beyond that is Kane/Haaland.

                What’s your opinion on Toney because he scored 1 less header than Havertz whilst losing more duels yet I doubt you’d argue he’s bad in the air so I don’t really understand your point.

          2. I fail to see how any playe can be so called “fantastic”in thr air , UNLESS he scores headers. And he hardly ever does.

            In my book, that negates the “fantastic” description completely, as your question rightly asked!

        1. Surely as Arsenal stands today, progress can’t be adding players of Havertz Calibre. Look at how quality minded City is. We shouldn’t make a collection of average players. Being frankly objective, this is a big mess! We can’t mount the challenge we dearly need with this kind of players.

          We seem not too good enough in scouting good players at reasonable fees

    1. Good analysis Angus.Add in the fact that he is rarely injured and is a first eleven pick for Germany and you have an appealing package.Not one Chelsea player stood out in one of their poorest seasons for some time which was compounded by Managerial changes and the fact that they rarely played the same eleven in successive games.Against this background, Havertz may not have been a shining light but he was rarely left out and made many very good contributions without scoring .Most sensible fans will recognise his elegance on the ball, his movement off it and his football intelligence to control and link up with others.In my opinion, he is a very fine footballer who will go on to prove it in the red shirt next season.

    2. Good points Angus
      Harvetz clearly has attributes which if utilised and developed could translate into a very effective player for us over the next few seasons.
      There are understandable doubts given his last few years at Chelsea but the potential is there.

  9. Not everyone has to be a leader

    Havertz looks more like a player who needs a bit of leadership and has not been getting it at Chelsea.

      1. Think that was why Rice was elevated to priority signing, still confident on that one but we’ll see.

        1. I’m with you on this one, we are still on course with the West Ham man. Tiresome it may be but, it still looking good.

  10. I think everyone is going a bit overboard here. There is definitely some risk, but there always is in any transfer.

    My two cents

    We are getting an experienced player who still has plenty of upside potential at only 24 (right in our sweet spot), first choice for the German national team with nearly 40 caps, champions league winner, several hundred first team games, can play effectively anywhere from CM/AM forward, highly technical, great work rate/engine.

    Clearly has areas to improve, hence the negativity – such as his finishing. But I have confidence that the coaching team at arsenal will improve him.

    We also need to remember that during his time at Chelsea he must of had at least 4 managers, all with different demand/styles, different coaches/back room staff, etc. no Chelsea players have really improved over the last couple of years. With some stability and consistent messaging/expectations/coaching I think he could be very useful

    1. My point exactly Arsenal fans in general have short memories look a Odegaart a few seasons ago could not get into the Real Madrid team was labelled a failure but Arteta saw something in him non of us did. Look at him now. Myself personally think we paid too much but the gaffer see something we don’t. stop this constant criticism and give Arteta some credit. I am not an Arteta fan but give credit were its due not many coaches could turn around our fortunes like he did.

  11. Havertz, timber and hopefully Rice is a massive improvement. Arsenal should stop wasting time if Arteta has chosen him as his first choice before man city gets serious in this coming week. I don’t enjoy my sleep ever since mancity has stepped in over this deal. I wake up even in the midnight to read the latest on DECLAN RICE.

  12. The knifes will be out in droves to have gaffer crucify, if Havertz proves not to be a success.

    In my opinion there is an 85% chance he will be a success, he will be given chances upon chances to stamp his class, that’s how it is when a gaffer goes out of the way for a particular player.

    Arteta once again has demonstrated that steely determination that has been a part of him,

    1. To be fair if it doesn’t work it’s a hefty outlay in transfer/wages. In that case criticism would be legitimately due, I mean it would be Arteta’s largest transfer to date.

      That said one source of comfort should be our track record under Arteta on our more expensive signings. Lots of people like to point out the flops and claim it’s a poor percentage hit rate whilst ignoring most “flops” were under 10 mil and all under 20 mil and as such very cheap.

      Think Vieira (34 mil) is the only one over 20 mil to be considered a flop and think that assumption is extremely premature. Kids still the captain of Portugal’s u21 and as such clearly has something about him and in reality has barely played for us yet. If he’d come through our academy think people would be raving and begging for starts, Patino isn’t exactly massive and was even smaller when some fans wanted him promoted to the 1st team for instance. Doesn’t mean he will make it of course but nobody can say they know now on the limited chances he’s had (think most opinion is based upon how he looks more than anything TBH.)

      1. Angus
        Strongly agree with your opinion, I take solace in the very confident approach the gaffer made to acquire his service, surely he has seen something most armchair managers miss.

        I was totally wrong with the purchase of Ramsdale, so am in no position to doubt him here

    2. Success is different for different players and their fans. 350K per week or 18M a year would fetch you 1 goal and 2 assists and many were content with that and some wanted Unai gone and Mikel too. Let the Man with the Midas touch turn Kai from an average player to a gold medal winner. I’m confident.

      1. Please can we allow the manager to do his work? Mikel Arteta is a great coach and doing well hence he deserves commendation, let’s support him. He loves Arsenal and wants to achieve something big. I wish him well. I am optimistic that Kai will not fail. God bless Arsenal Football Club – the best club in the world, I believe.

        1. Prince Ben AHANOU
          Am not sure I can call the gaffer great as yet, The early signs though tells you he will.

          We may have miss out on the big jug by just one top defender short, that’s some feat by the young gaffer.

      2. Loose Cannon
        Unlike most I have never seen Havertz as an average player, since joining Chelsea he has at times gone missing, but under the tutelage of the gaffer, the saying that class is permanent may very well apply here.

  13. I can accept other opinions but it must be strengthened with stats and facts. Not gibberish. It’s obvious that no one including those at Arsenal expected Kai Havertz to be available this summer. And I think Mikel Arteta rates him much higher than Declan Rice. Kai is cheaper, younger, has higher ceiling, more technical proficient, better at tactical adaptation and has plenty of CL experience. Who knows if Arteta prefer Havertz over Rice. Who knows if Arsenal already knew Havertz was available and used Rice as a transfer smokescreen. Arsenal now buying Havertz for less than what Chelsea paid. With the EPL and CL know how. If the Arsenal hierarchy thinks Rice only wants Arsenal, then I would go scout all other options first before paying 100M to an almost relegated team.

  14. I think Havertz is a good player but I don’t think we should’ve payed that much at all!

    It would be nice if MA came out and told fans where he thinks he might fit into the team etc….afterall fans are the lifeblood of any club.

    1. You’d like the manager to come out and lay out his tactical plans for the season ahead? Why? What possible benefit would we gain from that apart from appeasing fans who can’t just wait and watch?

      The fee however I agree is large. It’s a transfer that needs to work at that price or finally critics of our transfer policy in recent years will actually have something genuinely bad to comment on even if an isolated example.

      1. The primary position of a player is not laying out tactical plans. If we sign Rice he’ll likely play DM but ssshhhhhh don’t tell anyone that because it will give away our tactical plans….see how ridiculous that is.

        1. It’s really not ridiculous, as that’s where Rice always plays. Havertz on the other hand can play in different positions.

        2. Why do you want to know then? I’m confused it’s either obvious and inconsequential and therefore not really worth knowing or it’s important?

  15. Lots of players have done relatively badly at Chelsea and gone on to do really well elsewhere (Sala and KDB being the best examples), and Havertz is certainly talented enough to go to another level at Arsenal. As many have alluded to on here already, it’s going to be a case of how he is used. The transfer fee does sound a bit pricey but if he and the manager can fulfil his potential then nobody will care in a few months.

  16. At least you are willing to give him a chance before labelling him a flop unlike some people here. Havertz has struggled in the PL but it’s not like he was an environment to succeed.

    Havertz is a player who has very good positioning and like to play quick one two. If we get the Havertz of Germany 65m will be a bargain. He is also versatile which is something Arteta demands of his players.

    If we get the Havertz of Chelsea well it would have been a bad gamble.

  17. I’m quietly confident with this one I reckon there’s a massive upside as he’ll be playing for a team with a really strong team ethic and his underlying stats are actually impressive

  18. I will readily sign Xavi Simons, a very strong athlete who is still only 19 for 40M than sign a man who has spent 3 years in the PL and never ever justified why Chelsea spent so much on him.

    It makes little sense to spend 65M on this player while asking for 40M for Balogun who is by far a better performer and still younger. Absolutely no sense

  19. I don’t get Havertz at all. We need a midfield player and one fine player is available. Nicolo Barella is a world class Italian player. We should sign him. We should swap Thomas Partey for Juventus Federico Chiesa, too. We want to be the ‘New Invincibles’…. if so, we could get Milinkovic-Savic and become unbeatable.

  20. I cannot get my head around this one, but it’s certainly intriguing.

    I imagine it means a tweak to the system we play. I look forward to seeing it plays out.

  21. I feel as though there are a lot of people who haven’t seen Kai play outside or some games with Chelsea. He’s a legit player, offers flexibility, and gives us an aerial threat we lack in the attacking third. Chelsea is a mess currently. Take a player like Sterling who you know can play and score in this league and look at the struggles he endured last season. Kai is going to fit in massively with this current group.

    Also, people want Arteta to come out and speak about how he plans on using him? He’s not even an Arsenal player yet haha. Why would he come out and talk about it before it’s finalized?

  22. Kai Havertz has been consistently selected for the German National team, where he has played well contributing goals and assists. Accordingly, Havertz is no mug.
    His best position is attacking midfielder sitting behind the forwards, although he has the ability to play across the front line. Unfortunately he has been misused and chopped snd changed at Chelsea and underperformed just like the rest of his team.
    If Mikel Arteta and Arsenal can return him to reach his potential, “getting a tune out of him”, Havertz will prove to be an excellent addition.

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