You are here
Home > Arsenal > Player Profile – Kai Havertz | What Will be the German Attacker’s Role and How Will he Fit in at Arsenal?

Player Profile – Kai Havertz | What Will be the German Attacker’s Role and How Will he Fit in at Arsenal?

Kai Havertz, Arsenal

Arsenal unveiled Kai Havertz as their first signing of the 2023 summer transfer window. The German attacker signed from London rivals Chelsea FC in a deal worth £65 million, £60m in upfront fee, plus an additional £5m in add-ons. He has signed a five-year deal with the Gunners until the summer of 2028.

Kai Havertz joined Chelsea for a £72 million fee from Bayer Leverkusen in 2020. The German international had impressed with 46 goals and 27 assists in 150 games for the Bundesliga side (via fbref). However, he failed to translate the same quality of performances in the Premier League.

Kai Havertz, Arsenal
Image Obtained via

Across 3 seasons at Stamford Bridge, the 24-year-old has scored 32 goals and assisted 15 in 139 games (stats via Transfermarkt). Nevertheless, he struggled to lock down a single position and his form has been erratic throughout his tenure.

Chelsea’s frustrating 2022-23 season reflected on Havertz’s form too. He was tried as a striker, winger and attacking midfielder as the Blues changed managers twice mid-season. His numbers also dropped, with just 9 goals and 1 assist across all competitions, a meagre return for the striker of a top-6 club. This was perhaps a major reason for his decision to leave, and for the club to allow him to do so.

Player Profile

Kai Havertz emerged from the Bundesliga as a talented shadow-striker. He was largely deployed down the right, where he could cut onto his preferred left foot. In the 2019-20 season, Leverkusen also used him behind Kevin Volland in a 4-2-3-1 with great success (via whoscored).

At Chelsea, manager Frank Lampard initially experimented with the 24-year-old as a midfielder. However, it was the false-nine role under Thomas Tuchel that brought out the best in him. Tuchel used a 3-4-3 system with Mason Mount and Timo Werner as narrow wingers. This allowed the forward to drop deeper and interchange positions with his teammates. He scored the winning goal in the final of the 2020-21 Champions League.

The German attacker is not a prototypical centre-forward profile. With his lanky frame (186cm tall), Havertz is not a high-volume dribbler. However, he is great at carrying the ball into the final third and linking up with teammates in tight spaces.

He is also strong in the air and a dangerous creator in the final third. He is adept at making late runs to arrive in the box and finish crosses from his wingers. The forward is constantly moving when the ball is not at his feet, to find the most optimal space available close to the goal.

Defensively too, the 24-year-old is a reliable asset. he is an excellent presser in the final third, and can fit very well into Mikel Arteta’s system. And that brings in the important question. Where does Kai Havertz fit in this Arsenal side?

Kai Havertz: Role at Arsenal

Havertz’s profile is a bit of a headache for manager Mikel Arteta to figure out. The German does not play high enough for a classical centre-forward. At the same time, he does not play deep enough to play as a central midfielder.

Perhaps, the closest role to his Leverkusen days is what Martin Odegaard currently plays. The Norwegian plays as an advanced midfielder coming in from the right. Odegaard has permission to roam higher up the field and also drift into the wing. However, the former Real Madrid man also gets involved deeper down the field, both in and off possession.

It is perhaps not realistic to expect the 24-year-old to dislodge the club captain from the starting XI. Therefore, there are two possible roles that the Germany international could have in the line-up; his current role, or the solution to Arsenal’s only gap in the team:

  1. Centre-forward: Kai Havertz would be a perfect false-nine for Arteta. He regularly drops deeper and supports the team’s build-up. However, Arsenal also have Gabriel Jesus contesting for the role. The Brazilian international enjoyed a great debut season and has interpreted his role in the team very well. It seems unlikely that Arteta would be looking to revamp the role after just one season.
  2. Left Midfielder: Granit Xhaka’s departure leaves a massive gap in the starting XI. The Swiss international was the glue to Arteta’s system last season. His role allowed Oleksandr Zinchenko to invert and Gabriel Martinelli to freely charge down the flank. The Swiss was also constantly involved in defence as well as in the attacking box. Mikel Arteta could experiment with the German in this role too. He would play a more advanced role, and the team should adapt accordingly. But Kai Havertz would offer an additional creative outlet from the left, making the team’s attack more unpredictable.

Read More:

Kai Havertz’s exact role in Arteta’s team still remains to be seen. The Gunners still have a lot of unfinished business in the transfer window. More incomings and outgoings could change the structure of the team a little more before the season officially commences.

Arsenal’s involvement in the Champions League means the club will definitely have a hectic schedule next season. The Spanish manager will need more squad depth to effectively compete in the Premier League and Champions League. The 24-year-old’s signing represents a step in the right direction.

Follow AD for the Latest Transfer Updates for Arsenal.

Adithya Ravi
Football enthusiast. Stat enthusiast

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.