Word forms: tranquilo, tranquila.
When Mikel Arteta described Kai Havertz’s transfer so far in the reinvigorated Arsenal midfield, he used ‘tranquilo’.
Be calm, Arsenal fans, the manager has a plan. There’s been talk over the new signing who, at the time of his arrival, was Arteta’s most expensive incoming. Of course, a certain Declan Rice has changed that.
Mikel Arteta will continue to back Kai Havertz, so be patient
Arteta is sagacious and meticulous in style. He knows that £65m isn’t cheap so this will have to pay off. Otherwise, his ego will have to step aside and other players must step up, including Fabio Vieira, Emile Smith Rowe, and even Leandro Trossard.
11 games in; one goal and one assist. There’s cause for concern among some of the fanbase, who were probably the same ones who didn’t fancy this signing to begin with. Yet, I reiterate, Arteta has a plan in place and that’s evident in the way he’s been deployed.
Havertz has been drifting across that front three but starting off as that third midfielder. Those runs at the back post will come good, and he’s by far our tallest attacker at a colossal 6’4. The German makes vertical runs down the middle, for example, the penalty incident vs Manchester United. He similarly did that for Bayer Leverkusen when scoring goals from those positions as shown below.
It’s comparable to what Granit Xhaka was doing from time to time in his rediscovered role last season. It’s going to take time, and patience is something Arsenal fans are going to have to give to Havertz because it’s certain that Arteta will wait.
However, he was tried as a number nine against Manchester City in the 1-0 win and managed to set up the winner for Gabriel Martinelli. His hold-up play was impressive as he also chested down another half-chance for Martin Odegaard. After the elation of the incredible victory, the feeling among many fans was that Havertz should be tried as that number nine more often.
It’s not far-fetched to also say that Havertz’s best performance for Arsenal so far has come against the treble winners themselves in the Community Shield win. He should’ve scored that game though, and yes, I’ll hold that against him because the last thing Arsenal need is another striker that can’t put away their chances.
Arteta has consistently backed Havertz in the media, whether it’s comparing him to his wife, or calling on the Arsenal fans to show him love. “I’ll tell you what I feel about him, is that I love him. His work rate is excellent and a lot of things that he does for the team is so good. The one with the stats is the one that’s missing.”
He continues by asking for more support: “My feeling is to give him love, and we’ll get the best out of him.”
Arteta compared him to other players in the team such as Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale, in the sense that questions were raised over whether they were good enough. Most of Arteta’s signings have repaid him, but not all.
Remember Willian? Apologies for that reminder but his name may come up again if Kai Havertz consistently underperforms. It’s not the consistency that the fans want to see, and some moans and groans have already been the cause of a loose touch or a bad pass.
It’s important to see the other side of the page. It’s not easy coming from a dysfunctional, unstable place as Chelsea was last season. Yet, he still managed to statistically be one of their best players. He registered team-highs for goals, chances created, final third passes and duels won in the Premier League. If he can replicate similar stats for Arsenal, there is no doubt he will shine.
He needs to maintain a level of equanimity and composure when the ball is at his feet, especially when he’s in front of goal. There could be a light at the end of the tunnel for Havertz, Arteta will hope that he’s there with him if he arrives there.