Well, it seems like it’s happening and yesterday there was yet more confirmation, that Kai Havertz will be an Arsenal player. And so my narrative and mindset has to shift from the “WHY?!?” to “Come on Kai!”, as the second he dons that Arsenal shirt then I am looking at how we can get the best from a new acquisition. So I’m starting to come to terms with it and in my mind I’m starting to try to rationalise why Arteta is so hot on this player.
We talked a little about it on the Same Old Arsenal summer pod last night and with the help of Paul and Mike I started to come around to the idea.
But only if we are doing something fundamentally different to what Chelsea have done with this player. And to me that means he isn’t going to play as a false nine. I think it is fair to say he can play as a false nine, but in the same way that Emile Smith Rowe can play as a false nine, I don’t think – I hope, at least – that Arteta will be looking to replicate the same approach as Chelsea did last season.
So to me that hopefully means we see him more in the Xhaka role as a left eight and if you are telling me that we’re going to replace Xhaka with Kai Havertz in the squad, then that’s a pretty decent turnover in staff given the Swiss wants to go and try something new. Havertz is a progressive passer, he’s somebody that makes late runs in to the box, he’s a guy who is not prolific but will chip in with some goals and when you think about it like that, it is starting to sound very familiar to what Xhaka gave for us this last season.
Defensively I think Xhaka offers more and perhaps that is something of a concern, but with Arsenal also apparently close to this Timber fella from Ajax, I’m beginning to think that there will be some games in which we have inverted full back providing that defensive midfield cover, so Arteta can unleash hell on opponents by playing a front five of Martinelli, Havertz, Jesus, Odegaard and Saka. Now that is some front line of attack, all very good with the ball, technical, with each of them able to chip in with goals. I think back to the last game of the season against Wolves and Xhaka popping up in the box to head home the first goal, and there’s no reason why you couldn’t imagine Havertz getting in to that position.
He’s a decent presser of the ball too. He’ll be a front-footed player and if we’re looking to squeeze opponents right up the sharp end of the pitch with aggressive pressing, then apparently he’s the type of guy to be able to do that.
So with those factors in mind, I think I’ve convinced myself that this is a good move, but the biggest convincer of all has to be Arteta.
He has earned your trust, Chris, there’s no doubt about that.
And maybe that is to be said for the potential exit of Thomas Partey too. I don’t like it, it makes me uncomfortable, I’d rather see the likes of Elneny out the door before Partey, but much like this Havertz deal was an opportunistic deal by Arsenal, this Partey exit might be equally opportunistic. I’ve kind of done talking about that though, so I don’t think I’ll go in to more detail on my thoughts as to what this means.
Instead, let’s look at what else is going on, shall we?
Well, not a lot, is the answer. Unless you count the story about how Adidas have recalled a bunch of Arsenal shirts because of a design flaw in the number of ‘W’s and ‘D’s on the more expensive version of the home kit. Please join me in a collective ‘meh’ over that kind of stuff. Although much like the Michael Jackson ‘This is It’ tickets for his farewell tour that never happened, if I had that shirt I would probably do what I wish I’d have done with that ticket and kept it for a few years, so I can make a buck or two in a few years time!
There is some stuff knocking around that Man United want to nab Rice from us in a player-plus-cash deal, but if United are chucking in Scott McTominay, the hope would be that it would put West Ham OFF any deal, rather than improve the chances. I guess the upside for West Ham of a player like that is his imperviousness to getting carded for clobbering his way through midfields up and down the country. That could be useful, although when he isn’t wearing the ‘diplomatic immunity’ shirt of Man United, does he still get afforded the free reign he does at the moment? I’m not sure about that.
Anyway, hopefully that supposed third and final bid has gone in and hopefully we can get moving with this before Masn City wake up and offer £250million for the player. My hope is that we start hearing some news by the weekend. Remember kids, when I go on holiday good things happen; last time I was away we beat Newcastle in the League, I was away in January when we won away to the Scum, I was in America when we smashed Forest and also beat Chelsea on their turf, then last summer I was in Portugal when we announced Fabio Vieira and things started to also rapidly progress with Gabriel Jesus. So maybe my good luck of going away on holiday will kick in when I get myself to Portugal come Saturday morning? We shall see.
And I shall see – or rather, speak – to you all tomorrow.
Enjoy your Thursday folks.