Tuesday, April 16, 2024

No Man’s Kai

Good morning.

It ain’t morning he said. Sure is. 5.17am by my clock here. That’s as much morning as you’re ever gonna get. No more mornings for him, he replied. Hit the road, I guess.

Quiet one, for the most part, but today’s the day the window creaks open, so let’s see what happens.

The only bit of Arsenal related news is some chatter about interest in Kai Havertz, which I’m told is genuine. This one of those stories where my first reaction is a bit ‘meh’. I don’t think I’ve ever been particularly impressed with him during his time at Chelsea, but of course there was a lot of hype about him when he joined them from Bayer Leverkusen in 2020. And no matter how I rationalise it, there’s a part of me that just flat-out hates giving them any money for anything.

His record at Stamford Bridge has not been brilliant, but it’s probably fair to say that Chelsea have been an increasing mess over the last few years, and that has some impact when you try and assess an individual. So, on the basis of trying to see what he might bring to the team if we did go for him, let’s try and flesh it out a bit:

1 – He’s tall, which is not unusual. Lots of people are tall, but we have spoken about a different kind of option in our front line, and he’d give us that. Not a classic number 9, but definitely someone who adds some height/aerial presence to a group of forwards who average around 5’10. Around 30% of his Chelsea goals have been headers.

2 – He’s fairly versatile, Mikel Arteta’s favourite V word. He has played as a striker, an attacking midfielder, and a right sided attacker for Chelsea – although most of his playing time has been central rather than out wide.

3 – He’s got Premier League experience, another thing that Arteta is keen on. I was a bit taken aback to find out he’s only just turned 24, for some reason I had him much older than that. So, there’s plenty of room for him to develop, and perhaps in a more cohesive environment than Chelsea’s, he could deliver more.

Again, I’m fighting against my natural inclination to dislike anything to do with Chelsea, and I’ve seen a lot of similar sentiment in reaction to this link. What I would say is that we have a manager who is very particular, who wants what he wants, and will make the decisions he think will work for his team. What fans think about a potential transfer won’t even come into the equation for him.

Which, when you consider how people reacted to players like Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, and even Martin Odegaard (the Maddison Stans were fuming!), is absolutely fair enough. Even in January, the move for Jorginho sparked a similar response, and that turned out pretty ok, all things considered. Which is to say, Arteta will look at what he thinks a player can bring to the team, and not where he’s coming from – which is a trait that is essentially unique to fans. An understandable one too, we experience rivalries in a different way from those working in the game where a more analytical approach is required.

I’ve mentioned this before: when Serie A was the monied league, the one with the biggest transfer fees and wages, I was always quite taken aback with how big players moved between the big clubs there. That didn’t really happen as much in England, it just wasn’t in the culture beyond some occasional outliers, but we’re seeing it more and more now. The wealth of Premier League clubs has created a market in which teams are going to buy from each other more and more – because they have to – and Arsenal interest in someone like Kai Havertz is a direct consequence of that.

Right, I’m gonna leave it there for this morning. More here tomorrow, and any further news as the transfer window opens today can be found on Arseblog News.

Have a good one.

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