Saturday, December 3, 2022

Arsenal Given Huge Boost In Their Chase For Bundesliga Starlet: Right Fit For Wenger’s Plans?

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Bishwaraj Bhattacharyya
Former athlete. Now a journalist hoping to cover football no matter the league or country.

Arsenal are heavy favourites to land 18-year-old German midfielder, Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen next summer. Liverpool and Southampton are also aiming for the teenager’s signature but Arsene Wenger might just have the upper hand in this situation.

Havertz is a product of the Leverkusen youth academy, having signed with the club when he was just 11. At 17 and 26 days old, he became the club’s youngest player ever to make his debut for the senior side, on 15th October 2016. He also became the youngest scorer in the Die Werkself’s history, after netting a late equaliser against Wolfsburg.

He was even handed a start in the Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid when his teammate, Hakan Calhanoglu was injured.

Just like Julian Brandt in his early days, Havertz is an early riser and is already a first team regular in the Leverkusen senior side. He has appeared in 26 games this season and has been involved in 10 of his team’s goals – scored 7 and assisted 3.

His game is primarily suited to the number 10 role, behind the role striker but he can be utilized from deeper positions as well. He clearly has the attention of Heiko Herrlich, who picks the 18-year-old over established professionals like Dominik Kohr and Karim Bellarabi in some fixtures.

Havertz has been impressive with the Germany youth sides as well. He already has 27 caps for the U16, U17 and U19 sides and has been rated as one of the best young talents in Europe. Arsenal were taking note of the midfielder’s talents in the international break against Norway.

The Germans were on the wrong side of the 5-2 scoreline but Havertz did make some impact after coming off the benches. He played the full 90 against the Netherlands, in the next game and helped his side to a 4-1 victory with one goal and one assist.

The Gunners are on the hunt for young talent and Havertz can be one of those history altering signings. His development has been meteoric and it can be further accelerated if given the right climate.

However, that might be hard to find in a team like Arsenal. The Premier League outfit already has prime attackers like Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The duo plays in the same creative role as the teenager and that might curb his progression to top-pedigree status.

Yes, the club are cutting it close with Jack Wilshere, given the contract situation he is currently facing but Havertz might not be the ideal replacement of the Englishman either. By any means, no one in the footballing world would want to see this highly rated prodigy turn into another Alex Iwobi at the Emirates.

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