Arteta urged to drop £65m ‘passenger’ as Arsenal get ‘worse’ after signing ‘problem’ player from rivals

Jason Soutar
Arsenal midfielder Kai Havertz during a match against Fulham.
Arsenal midfielder Kai Havertz during a match against Fulham.

Kai Havertz has come under fire for his poor showing in Arsenal’s 2-2 Premier League draw at home to Fulham on Saturday.

Havertz’s recent £65million move to Arsenal raised plenty of eyebrows after he failed to impress for Chelsea in three years at Stamford Bridge.

The German international will always be remembered fondly by Blues fans for scoring the only goal in their Champions League final victory against Manchester City in 2020, though.

The fact Chelsea were more than willing to let Havertz join Arsenal – and the joyous reaction of the club’s supporters – tells you everything you need to know about the player’s time in west London.

Havertz was always going to join the Gunners under an immense amount of pressure and his slow start to his career at the Emirates has not done him any favours.

He struggled during his side’s 2-2 home draw against Fulham on Saturday and has come under a lot of criticism from pundits and Arsenal fans.

A lot has been said about Havertz’s performance with some already writing him off. It is very difficult to see where he fits in to this Arsenal side, to be fair.

One pundit to criticise the 24-year-old is former Chelsea player Craig Burley, who says Mikel Arteta’s side performs “better” without Havertz in their starting XI.

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Burley said on ESPN: “There’s one in the second half where the crowd got on his back, somebody played a beautiful little ball into him, sixty yards from goal, he had 10 yards to turn because no defender had got tight to him and he passed it back 15 yards and gave it away.

“There is nothing in this Kai Havertz performance or performances that suggest that this player is any different, not one iota from the player who was performing for Chelsea. The only difference is he’s wearing a red shirt.

“He’s still got no confidence, he’s still not influencing games, he’s still giving the ball away, he’s still not getting in the right positions at the right time. He made one or two good runs in the first half.

“But at the moment, there’s a £70m burning problem in Arteta’s pocket, because, in my opinion, he’s going to have to drop him. Arsenal are a better side without him in the team.

“And [Leandro] Trossard. But Havertz is the elephant in the room because he was big money and he arrived from Chelsea. If Mikel Arteta wants to put Arsenal’s best XI on the field next time they play, it involves Kai Havertz being on the bench.

“He’s not gained his confidence back, we’ve not seen anything different from him. In fact he’s a passenger at the moment in this Arsenal side.”

Another pundit to question the signing of Havertz is former Tottenham striker and Arsenal fan Darren Bent, who thinks the German should be dropped by Arteta.

“Kai Havertz is the biggest one he would’ve raised a lot of eyebrows when Arsenal signed him for that amount of money, £65million,” Bent told Sky Sports.

“I think Arteta is having the same problems that Chelsea found out where do you play him? He’s not a natural No.9 he’s like a No.10 but Odegaard plays there.

“You’re almost accommodating him just to get him in the team but when you look at the balance of the side out of possession it’s all over the place I think you need to get Odegaard, Partey and Declan Rice and then work from there.

“At the moment he’s a passenger, he’s got no confidence and that’s unfortunate. I’ve been there, it’s tough. Players are rolling him the ball and he’s taking the wrong option, giving the ball away, not tracking runners.

“He found it really difficult today and the next game which is against Manchester United they’re going to have to make changes.”

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