Football pundit Alan Smith claims new signing Kai Havertz could be a better player than former Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka.
The Switzerland international moved to Bayer Leverkusen this summer for a reported fee of €15 million after enjoying a successful last season with the Gunners. In a slightly advanced midfield role, Xhaka chipped in with seven goals and seven assists from 37 Premier League appearances in the 2022-23 campaign.
Havertz, who's seemingly taken up the Xhaka role this season, is yet to find his feet under Mikel Arteta. He has failed to record a single goal contribution in the English top flight after starting all four of the north London outfit's league fixtures.
However, Smith has backed the Germany international, saying (via TBR):
"I’m not saying it’ll take [Kai] Havertz a season but he’s just finding his feet in that squad, in that dressing room and in that first XI. I think he’s a very good player technically, I think he can be a good player for us and I heard [Mikel] Arteta say he wants to be getting himself in the box on the end of things, a bit like [Granit] Xhaka did last season."
"I think Havertz can be better than that as he’s got more of an attacking instinct and he is a good finished when he gets in those positions."
Havertz completed a move to the Emirates from Chelsea in a £65 million deal this summer. Although the German played as a centre-forward for Chelsea, he recorded just 19 goals from 91 appearances in the Premier League.
"He has just slashed his foot at it" - Pundit on incredible Kai Havertz miss in Arsenal's 3-1 win against Manchester United
Football pundit and Arsenal icon Ian Wright weighed in on Kai Havertz's shocking miss in the Gunners' 3-1 victory against Manchester United on September 3.
With the game in the balance at 0-0, the Germany international slashed hard at a glorious opportunity, failing to connect and find the back of the net from seven yards out. Reacting to the incident, Wright said (via Football London):
"He needs to settle himself down. There is a lot of talk about him. It's a great touch. A great touch! But he has just slashed his foot at it. Instead of just watching it. Anything on target and you score."
To make matters worse, a misplaced pass from Havertz led to Marcus Rashford's opener that put Manchester United 1-0 up. After going a goal down, Martin Odegaard equalized from the restart. Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus scored late goals to ensure the three points for Arsenal.