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Kai Havertz: Chelsea flop to Arsenal hero – How Arteta was persuaded to spend big on Blues flop

Steve Kay

  • Updated: 11 Mar 2024 14:54 GMT
  • 3 min read
Gabriel Jesus, Kai Havertz, Arsenal, 2023/24

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was talked into signing Kai Havertz after a discussion with his former coach at Bayer Leverkusen, FootballTransfers can exclusively reveal.

Havertz is playing a key role in the Gunners’ push for the Premier League title, having scored four time in his last four league matches.

His most important contribution yet arrived on Saturday as he headed a late winner against Brentford in a 2-1 success at the Emirates Stadium.

It was an affirming moment for both Havertz and Arteta, who had received some criticism for spending £60 million on a player who had struggled to find his best form at Stamford Bridge.

FootballTransfers, though, can reveal that the Spaniard held several conversations with Tayfun Korkut, Havertz’s former coach at Leverkusen, over the mentality and qualities of the 24-year-old.

Sources have revealed that the Arsenal boss had a number of telephone chats with Korkut during the summer about his thoughts on Havertz, and where he would fit into the Arsenal side.

After the talks, Arteta wanted so badly Havertz because he could sense how low on confidence the player was at Chelsea and knew he could improve him.

Declan Rice and Kai Havertz
© IMAGO – Declan Rice and Kai Havertz

Versatile Havertz’s best position revealed

The Germany international is well-known for his versatility as he played in several positions, including centre midfielder, right-winger and even as a false nine.

Havertz admitted after netting against Brentford at the weekend that this versatility is not always a good thing, but that has not proven a hurdle to his success at Arsenal.

Korkut, meanwhile, has also said how Havertz could perfectly suit a 4-3-3 system.

“He is not a No 6, clearly not. But I think in front of that he can play anywhere,” he told Arteta.

“Maybe his best position is as a No.8 in the 4-3-3 formation that many teams play now, somewhere between a No.8 and a No.10. He is more of a central player than a winger but it depends on the system.”

“Timo [Werner] works with his running but Kai is special.”

Havertz’s next task will be to fire Arsenal into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, with the Gunners trailing 1-0 in the competition after the first leg at the Emirates.

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