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Quotes from Arsenal legend Thierry Henry offer possible Kai Havertz roadmap

The unexpected advance for the 24-year-old German international has caught many fans by surprise, with continuous questions surrounding how the Chelsea forward would slot into the Arsenal team under Mikel Arteta

Arsenal’s expected summer transfer extravaganza looks to officially hit the ground running in the near future after fresh reports detail growing confidence at the Emirates surrounding deals for West Ham United captain Declan Rice, and Chelsea forward Kai Havertz.

While the interest in Rice has been well-documented, the same cannot be said for Havertz after the club seemingly came out of nowhere with how fast there have been developments regarding a move for the 24-year-old, which now seem to be nearing completion after terms between the German and the Premier League runner-up have been struck.

But many fans remain on the side of caution, as well as confusion, in terms of why Mikel Arteta and Edu Gaspar are massively in favor of splashing what could be in the region of £60m for the former Bayer Leverkusen wunderkind in the wake of his turbulent period at Stamford Bridge.

Supremely talented, there is surely a reason why Arteta would be confident in restoring the form and reputation of a player that was once on track to jump from North Rhein-Westphalia to locations like Madrid and Munich before he opted to link up with compatriot Timo Werner in London under the command of Thomas Tuchel.

Though his rise at Leverkusen largely came as a creative number 10 as well as a right-sided attacker, a small sample size of credible appearances as a center-forward to the tune of eight goals in nine appearances presented Tuchel with the idea of transitioning the Aachen-born attacker into a forward role on a full-time basis.

Additionally, his appearances for Germany now regularly come in that position as well, which has caused many Arsenal fans to assume that it is in this role that Arteta would turn to Havertz; a profile that some say is missing in the Gunners’ forward line. Thierry Henry would seem to agree after quotes from the club legend from back in March saw the Frenchman compare Havertz to a former club mate of his; Robin van Persie.

“This is why out of the guys that used to be wingers or No.10 he plays as a nine because, with his back to goal, he can hold the ball well. Now he needs to make sure he can transform that into more goals because you can play off him.”

It remains to be seen whether or not Havertz will primarily be deployed centrally as another option different from that of Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah, and there are some circles who still believe the German would, instead, be deployed as an attacking 8 alongside club captain Martin Ødegaard in midfield due to his physical profile, creative instincts, and technical craft. While it is all unclear so far, the only person it is clear to is Arteta. And that should be enough.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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