Kai Havertz: Overpriced Flop or Future Arsenal Hero?

Arsenal splashed out a cool £65 million to purchase Kai Havertz from London rivals Chelsea in the summer. At the time of writing (after 11 Premier League matches of the 2023/24 season), the German attacking midfielder/forward has barely begun to repay even a fraction of that investment. There are plenty of Arsenal fans who are already beginning to grumble that Hazertz is not up to the task and some are even suggesting he ought to be offloaded and replaced in January! But is it too early for such talk and could Havertz turn things around and start banging in the goals for the Gunners?

In this article, we’ll take a look back at the German player’s career to date and attempt to figure out why Mikel Arteta decided to buy him at all. But before that, let’s delve into his stats from the opening few weeks of the 2023/24 campaign.

Kai Havertz Arsenal Stats 2023/24

Kai Havertz
David | Wikipedia.org

At the time of writing, Havertz has made 17 competitive appearances for Arsenal with 11 of those coming in the Premier League, three in the Champions League, two in the League Cup and one in the Community Shield. Crucially, he has scored just one goal… and that was a penalty! That single goal came against Bournemouth in Arsenal’s 4-0 away victory, so not exactly the most crucial strike ever. He’s also posted a single assist, also in the Premier League.

Based on his Premier League record thus far for Arsenal, Havertz has scored one goal every 655 minutes! That is significantly worse than his rather poor return for Chelsea in the 2022/23 season (when he scored seven league goals, or one every 368 minutes of play).

Havertz Goals & Assists Stats

Season Club Matches Minutes Goals Goals/90 Min Assists Assists/90 Min
2023/24* Arsenal 11 655 1 0.14 1 0.14
2022/23 Chelsea 35 2579 7 0.24 1 0.03
2021/22 Chelsea 29 1813 8 0.40 3 0.15
2020/21 Chelsea 27 1521 4 0.24 3 0.18
2019/20 Bayer Leverkusen 30 2462 12 0.44 6 0.22
2018/19 Bayer Leverkusen 34 2899 17 0.52 3 0.09
2017/18 Bayer Leverkusen 30 2139 3 0.13 8 0.34
2016/17 Bayer Leverkusen 24 1449 4 0.25 5 0.31

*2023/24 stats correct up to 7th November 2023.

As you can see, Havertz has only achieved goals-per-90 minutes stats of greater than 0.5 in one season, back in 2018/19, when he put in a very decent showing in the Bundesliga for Bayer Leverkusen. He got near that in 2021/22 for Chelsea when Frank Lampard started the season in charge, only to be replaced by Thomas Tuchel. But since then, Havertz hasn’t impressed with his goals or assists stats, and quite often he has appeared a father ineffectual bystander during games. This has left many Arsenal fans wondering what Arteta and the Arsenal board saw in the German to encourage them to invest so much cash.

Should Arsenal Fans Remain Hopeful?

Kai Havertz playing for Arsenal
Marco Verch | Flickr.com

The stats do not look good for Havertz. Okay, let’s be brutally honest here, they are appalling. Especially when you note that of the 11 shots he’s mustered in the Premier League in the 2023/24 season, only one has been on target, hence a shooting accuracy of just 9%. That’s way down on his shooting accuracy percentage based on his first 102 Premier League matches (of 43%).

Of course, he is still young, having turned 24 in June, and he is still settling in at the Emirates. But there is a sense that he is not forcing himself to get into games as he perhaps would have in the Bundesliga or when playing for his country. Speaking of which, his return of 13 goals in 40 international matches is not too bad, though he’s only scored once in seven appearances for Die Mannschaft during 2023. It should be noted that he did score a particularly crucial goal for Chelsea once… the only goal of the 2021 Champions League final when Chelsea beat Manchester City!

Of course, suggesting that Havertz being just 24 years age is a cause for hope overlooks the fact that many of Arsenal’s best players in the current squad are the same age or even younger. Martin Ødegaard, who very much pulls the attacking strings for the team, is also 24 years old at the time of writing. Fabio Vieira, meanwhile, is 23 and is showing positive signs, having already scored a goal and had two assists in seven Premier League games. And then of course we have Bukayo Saka who is still just 22 years old but is performing as if he’s a seasoned pro.

What Can Arteta Do to Improve Things?

Arteta is in a tricky situation as things stand. Given that Havertz is not exactly delivering the goods, there is only so long his manager can keep the faith. On the flip side, if Havertz is dropped, his already rather fragile confidence might be shattered completely and there could be no way back for him. After spending £65m on the player, it is almost unthinkable that he would be sent out on loan, but given his age, it might not be the worst option, especially if he was offered to a club in the Bundesliga. The familiar surroundings could be the perfect place in which Havertz could rebuild his confidence and rediscover his scoring touch, perhaps returning to Arsenal as a renewed force.

Realistically, that is unlikely to happen and the fate of the player ultimately rests in his hands (or at least at his feet). If he can get on a decent scoring run, all talk of him being a waste of money could be forgotten in a matter of weeks. But if he fails to make a positive impact soon, it is likely he’ll be condemned to the bench and could end up as a bit-part player for Arsenal for a couple of seasons before he’s sold at a big financial loss, probably to a Bundesliga side. For the sake of the player and Arsenal fans, we sincerely hope Havertz scores a hatful of goals soon, but unfortunately, the stats to date don’t fill us with confidence.