Arsenal: 2024, the year of redemption for Kai Havertz?


By: Manu Tournoux

If there is one player who had difficulty confirming his transfer last summer, it was Kai Havertz. Arriving last July against a check for 75 million euros from Chelsea, the German midfielder clearly did not succeed in his debut with Arsenal. A slump which confirms his decline in performance with the Blues already, where he had only found the net 19 times in just under 100 appearances in the Premier League. Enough to contrast with the expectations of the residents of Stamford Bridge, who saw in him a talent from Leverkusen ready to explode on the other side of the Channel.

A real disappointment for the current 10th in the English championship, who had already spent €80 million to dislodge him from Bayer 04 a little over three years ago. With the Gunners – where he is wandered around the field a bit by Mikel Arteta (false 9, relay midfielder, right winger…), the downward form was confirmed at the start of the season with a small achievement from the penalty spot at Bournmeouth (4-0 )…until the November international window. A selection gathering which will shake up the dynamics of the German international (42 caps, 14 goals). The novelty ? His position since he is aligned on the left of the defense by Julian Nagelsmann in a friendly against Turkey. A repositioning that paid off, with the score opening in the 5th minute of play… or not, since it caused a penalty in the second half.

After the Havertz, the good weather

But without knowing it, this stint with the Mannschaft will be a turning point for the native of Aachen… Because yes, on his return to London Colney despite two defeats with Germany, Kai Havertz quickly proved decisive by materializing his entry into play at Brentford to offer the three points to Arteta (1-0), before participating three days later in the Gunners’ offensive festival against RC Lens (6-0). Enough to rejoice his Spanish technician, who was full of praise after the big victory in the Champions League against the Sang-et-Or: “if you ask him to go to war, he will be the first there. But he doesn’t want to take that credit…I think he deserved that credit that day. He has been very positive, he feels love. Things are working now, he has the confidence… it shows.”

A relentless determination confirmed by the 24-year-old at Luton (4-3 victory) then against Brighton (2-0), to score his 4th and 5th goals of the season in all competitions. His return to the level expected by his coach not only defies Arsenal supporters, who had not spared him during his first months, but also the English press, also vehement towards him. The tone has changed now. “He offers the Gunners an outlet on high balls and constitutes another bulldozer to stop on set pieces”explains in particular the Daily Mail in his columns, also praising his versatility on the green rectangle. After a mixed year, 2024 could well be the season of redemption for “King Kai”…

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