Kai Havertz is threatening to do the unthinkable.
The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder is not only keeping pace with England wonderkid Jadon Sancho as the most desireable Bundesliga player for Premier League clubs, but the 20-year-old could also potentially steal the limelight away from the former Manchester City youngster.
And that’s no easy feat. English players are generally overhyped and wonderkids are often crushed underneath the weight of expectation – but not before being pushed to the stars by the press. Sancho’s performances for Borussia Dortmund justify the hype and then some.
Yet despite his exploits, people keep talking about Havertz and clubs continue to be linked. Clubs who have previously been tipped as a possible destination for the BVB No.7.
According to Sport1, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea are all keeping tabs on the goalscoring midfielder, while Bayern Munich are looking to lure him to Bavaria too. B04 realise it’s a matter of when and not if they lose their prized asset and they’ve taken a proactive approach to this by slapping a €100million price tag on him.
Previously, such a fee would put potential buyers off. But times are changing and £91million for a 20-year-old midfielder with 22 goals since the start of last season looks like good value for money.
Havertz has everything required to be unique in the modern game. Comfortable in an attacking three, there’s also a home for him as a number eight, similar to the way Pep Guardiola uses Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva. If he’s to fulfil his potential, however, he’s going to have to his next move right.
With this in mind, we’ve analysed which club would be the best fit for the Germany international.
Liverpool have a long-standing interest in Havertz, dating back to 2017. It’s easy to understand why he’d be on the Reds’ radar. Michael Edwards loves a multifunctional player and, despite his youth, he’s got a large set of data to dive into.
During the 2018/19 campaign, Havertz drifted between playing in a midfield three and as part of an attacking trio. Impressively, his output didn’t drop off even with the positional changes. He scored 20 in all competitions with 17 of those coming in the Bundesliga.
His playing profile lends itself to him perhaps playing as a false-nine. There’d need to be some refinement to his game but it is a possibility. Like Roberto Firmino, Havertz isn’t averse to doing the dirty work in midfield. Last season, the German averaged three possession regains in the middle third. It’d be a long-term project for Klopp but it could be worthwhile as there’s no quick fix when looking to replace the Liverpool No.9.
The more natural fit for him at Anfield would be as a midfielder and the Reds do need to freshen that area of the pitch up sooner rather than later. Havertz would definitely get opportunities.
The thought of Havertz in a Guardiola team is a fun one. He’s exactly the sort of player the Catalan coach could mould into one of the best in the world in his position.
But where would he play?
City aren’t short of options anywhere unless they feel they need a replacement for David Silva. But then where would that leave Phil Foden? Leroy Sané could be on his way out but Havertz isn’t a like-for-like replacement for his compatriot, and the Premier League champions often rely on their No.19’s directness in certain situations.
Moving away from that profile in that area of the pitch wouldn’t be the smartest of decisions and it could make Guardiola’s side easier – though still fairly difficult – to defend against.
On the surface, there might be very little logic to adding Havertz to the City squad. But Guardiola always has a plan. If he’s a genuine target then he’ll have a role in mind for the left-footed, versatile attacker.
A move to Old Trafford would be a strange one for Havertz with Ole Gunnar Solskjær still trying to put his stamp on the team. The United boss isn’t yet settled on a system but the new pairing in attack seems to be working well.
Anthony Martial is being deployed as a centre-forward with Marcus Rashford on the left. The pair then swap during attacking situations and it works really well. However, with both looking to stretch the opposition in central areas, he kind of nullifies what Havertz is good at.
He picks up pockets of space, makes runs in behind and generally looks to get into the penalty area whenever possible. The trio could clash as their end goal is to get into similar positions.
That said, one could tweak their game to accommodate the others. But it’s a carefully balanced dynamic and adding in a new factor could knock it off completely.
Mason Mount isn’t as good as Havertz, let’s get thag clear. But it’s clear Frank Lampard rates the Chelsea youngster highly. It’s highly improbable, therefore, the club will spend close to £100million on a player that would limit the 20-year-old’s development.
It’d also be a big ask for Lampard to simultaneously develop Mount, Havertz and Christian Pulisic while keeping Chelsea competitive. The move just wouldn’t make sense for the Blues right now.
The Gunners are loaded in attack but as showed this summer this won’t stop them from further strengthening that area. With Dani Ceballos only calling Emirates home on a temporary basis and Mesut Özil not really part of Unai Emery’s plans, there could be a place in the squad for an attacking midfielder next summer.
Furthermore, there are questions surrounding whether or not Arsenal could afford another big splurge on attacking reinforcements. They’ve already spent in excess of £150million on Pépé, Aubameyang and Lacazette, and Emery doesn’t always play with all of them. Spending another £90million on a single player doesn’t seem like the most sensible of moves.