Sunday, December 10, 2023

Yippee Kai-yay: Havertz signing official

Morning all.

So, our first signing of the summer was made official yesterday when the club announced the arrival of Kai Havertz from Chelsea.

The 24 year has cost something in the region of £60m, with further add-ons included, and as I’ve said previously, it does feel a bit expensive to me. Then again, we’re operating in a market where we’re also about to pay £100m for a player, so in that context, it more or less adds up.

Havertz says:

It’s super exciting for me personally. I’m so glad to join this amazing club.

And drew on recent experience of this Arsenal side too:

I think the family mentality that the team has on the pitch is one of the reasons why it so hard to play against Arsenal. I guess they have it off the pitch as well. So the team mentality in the squad is very, very high and you can feel that. Obviously there’s so many talented players and there’s big room to achieve big things as well.

After an underwhelming time at Stamford Bridge, at least in terms of the excitement and hype that surrounded his arrival from Bayer Leverkusen, he comes with something to prove. Perhaps at a point in his career where he needs something different to reignite the spark that made him such a coveted young player when he was in Germany. As I’ve said before, assessing a player at a club that is a bit of a basket case isn’t always easy. There have been plenty of examples in the past of talent that has plateaued at one club, before flourishing again in an environment that suits them better. That said, the onus is on the player in many respects too.

As for where he might play, there was certainly a hint of what is to come when Mikel Arteta spoke about him, saying:

Kai is a player of top quality. He has great versatility and is an intelligent player. He will bring a huge amount of extra strength to our midfield and variety to our play.

We know how much Arteta values versatility, and he has operated in different positions throughout his career. Being the main man up front for Chelsea didn’t really work, but when playing behind or wide of a striker, he is much more effective. At Leverkusen, he had  46 goals and 31 assists (77 goal involvements) in 150 games (before the age of 21!). Impressive numbers. That level fell when he arrived in the Premier League, but when Arteta talks about him as a midfielder, it lends weight to the theory that he has been earmarked as a player who can slot into the left 8 role left vacant by the imminent/eventual departure of Granit Xhaka.

I also think very strongly that this signing is one that comes in tandem with Declan Rice. Whatever you think about Kai Havertz, there is no way that the manager has splashed out this much money without a very clear plan for him and what he can bring to the team. The remodelling of the midfield with two 24 year old internationals with plenty of Premier League experience feels very much interconnected.

Like every player, there are things he can improve on, but we know that Arteta is a very demanding manager. If there are some concerns about aspects of his game, or his physical presence, I’m certain there will be focus on that, as well as developing the things he’s already good at. As I said, he has a bit to prove, so let’s hope he can do that during his time here.

For a more rounded profile of him, check out Phil Costa’s piece here, and over on Patreon we have our traditional new player podcast for you to listen to right now.

As for Declan Rice, it looks as if things are coming to a head, and in a positive way. There now appears to be broad acceptance of the deal at the West Ham end, Man City have reportedly pulled out, and the way is clear for Arsenal to complete the signing. Obviously, there’ll be plenty to say about that as and when it’s official, so fingers crossed that happens soon enough. There has been so much hinging on this deal, and it has clearly been difficult and complicated – as you would expect when trying to bring in a player of that profile – but it seem as if Arteta and Edu have got their man.

Let’s see what today brings with regards all that. Any further news, we’ll have it for you on Arseblog News, and I’ll be back tomorrow with an Arsecast to discuss all the bits and bobs.

Until then, have a good one.

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