Kai Havertz isn't living up to expectations
It's too early to call him a flop but you also can't say the current production is good enough
When Arsenal were first linked with Havertz I had the following expectations about him, from my stats scouting post on him:
I find Havertz’s statistical and overall profile intriguing. He has played all over the field over the last five years and what basically always sticks out is that he can do most things well while also adding a good volume of high-quality shots.
He has done this in good teams, he has done this in teams that struggle. He has done this with good coaches and bad coaches. He has done this in the Bundesliga, the Premier League, the Champions League, and with the German National team.
When he was in the Bundesliga he looked destined to become one of the best future 8/10 hybrids, it didn’t quite work out at Chelsa where he instead became the least bad and most reliable of the parade of poor strikers for them. I can see the reason why he is still a player that draws interest because there are not many out there with his profile.
When I imagine him at Arsenal I don’t necessarily see him as the left-eight (although I do imagine he would play a fair amount at that spot) but rather that he is the player that would be like Trossard to Martinelli on the right-hand side. He would become one of the group that can rotate around and be comfortable in a fluid system interchanging but starting from the right-hand side.
I can see him playing rotation minutes with Jesus, Saka, and Odegaard. Playing in similar spots but in a different and unique way.
I totally blew where Arsenal saw him playing. I did not expect him to be the primary “left eight” for Arsenal. Maybe if Thomas Partey doesn’t spend so much time injured he plays there less but it really did look like he was the guy that was signed to replace Granit Xhaka and look to take that position as his own.
There is a lot of hyperbole around him as a player but looking at his numbers they are not nearly as bad as the proponents that this has been a disaster would tell you. Here he is compared to Granti Xhaka last season.
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In this, he holds his own and comes across as looking respectable.
His off-the-ball work has been better than perhaps all but the most optimistic would have predicted, he has gotten a fair number of good shooting opportunities (but failed to finish them), and has been a clear downgrade as a passer.
One of the most damming things you can say right now is that he has been fine or respectable. While it is true, a team isn’t looking for that when they make a big investment in a player in wages and transfer fee.
Looking at the more detailed stats dashboard and especially when you weigh for the items that you really want to see from a player in his advanced position the gap between his production and Xhaka’s last year grows.
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