Kai Havertz Struggling to meet Arsenal Expectation “20-year-old Florian Wirtz would have been better than him” said Pennant:
Mikel Arteta’s big money summer signing Kai Havertz has struggled since joining Arsenal from Chelsea for £65 million. The German midfielder was brought in to replace Granit Xhaka but has managed just 1 goal and 1 assist in 18 appearances across all competitions this season.
Former Arsenal winger Jermaine Pennant believes Havertz’s poor form is down to being played out of position by Arteta. He suggests it is time for Arsenal to cut their losses on Havertz after his disappointing start, as reported by Sky Sports.
Instead, Pennant feels Bayer Leverkusen’s 20-year-old Florian Wirtz would have been the perfect signing for the Gunners. With 6 goals and 10 assists already in the Bundesliga this campaign, Pennant praised Wirtz’s high football IQ and clever passing, stating he “seems to always pick the right pass” in an interview with FourFourTwo.
Kai Havertz statistically calculated player characteristics:
— WhoScored.com (@APLocked) November 17, 2023
Wirtz continues to be linked with a move to Arsenal according to reports in The Athletic, while other big clubs like Tottenham and Liverpool are also tracking the Germany talent.
Arteta supported Havertz in a recent press conference saying “we know he has to keep improving. As with any player, give him support, you see a player that does what he does every single day and applies himself. If they don’t perform, it’s up to us.”
However, Arsenal legend Martin Keown slammed Havertz’s lack of physicality, telling the Daily Mail “Havertz looks like a boy against men… he needs to toughen up.”
There are also questions over whether Havertz suits Arteta’s 4-3-3 system. Thomas Tuchel found great success playing Havertz as one of two strikers in a front two during his time at Chelsea. Arteta may need to adapt his tactics to unlock Havertz’s full potential.
At 24 years old, it is still early days in Havertz’s Arsenal career. But with the club battling for a top four spot, the pressure is on the big money signing to quickly adapt to the Premier League and start justifying his huge transfer fee.
With Arsenal lacking creativity in midfield, Havertz was meant to be the solution. But the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard have outshone the German so far. According to The Independent, some Arsenal fans are already labelling Havertz a ‘flop’ after his lack of goals and assists.
Arteta maintains the £65 million man needs time to settle into his new club. Arsenal’s upcoming matches will be a critical test for Havertz to demonstrate his ability and secure a regular starting position.
Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell believes Havertz has the talent but needs to show more determination, telling Football Insider “Havertz has got elegance and class but he needs to roll his sleeves up.”
According to reports in The Sun, Chelsea could look to re-sign Havertz if he continues to struggle at Arsenal. The Blues sold him to fund moves for Enzo Fernandez and Mykhaylo Mudryk but may see an opportunity to bring the German back to Stamford Bridge on the cheap.
However, Arsenal are unlikely to cut their losses so soon after paying a club record fee for Havertz in the summer. Arteta is expected to give him more time to adapt to his tactics and the physicality of the Premier League. But Kai Havertz ultimately needs to start producing on the pitch to win over the Arsenal fans.