Welcome to World Class: Kai Havertz

When an exciting new talent arrives on the European scene, we instantly search for legends past or present to compare their style or stature.

Paulo Dybala was quickly nicknamed the new Lionel Messi due to his Argentinian heritage and small size. Christian Pulisic drew immediate comparisons to the man he replaced at Chelsea, Eden Hazard.

Allan, Kai Havertz
Havertz dominates his opponents | Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

In the case of Kai Havertz, he would probably admit himself that his football doppelgänger is fellow national Thomas Muller. Standing an inch taller than Muller at six-foot-two, the new Chelsea star stands out like a sore thumb from the majority of modern playmakers.

It’s not just the height and an old-fashioned silhouette that Havertz shares with Muller, however. He follows in the footsteps of the Bayern man by becoming a true top-notch attacking midfielder, and like Muller, his game is all about space and anticipation.

To be fair to Havertz, he also has pace on his side and is often a clear winner in a run with most of the center-backs. This is not, however, where he made his mark. For the 21-year-old, it’s all about reading the game, understanding the gaps between defenders, and exploiting them mercilessly – much like the more experienced Muller.

Now, for a boy who is barely out of his teens, working out mental wavelengths of this nature is insanely good. And for the worried Blues who have not yet seen their brilliant summer signing yet, there is reason to be optimistic.

Kai havertz
Havertz is destined to be a star in blue | Marc Atkins / Getty Images

“He’s a very good player, if not the best player of his age group in Europe at the moment. His skills are exceptional. Of course, we still want Bayern’s best players ”

Thomas Muller on Havertz

There is no doubt about her ability, nor her ability to cut her in the Premier League. It is only a matter of time before he successfully applies the same mental arithmetic that he learned to calculate in Germany on the English scene as well.

It’s no coincidence that he’s become as highly rated as he is, and he’s not a one-season wonder either.

Havertz exploded onto the Bundesliga scene as a teenager, becoming the youngest player to don the Bayer jersey at the time, then breaking another record to become the club’s youngest goalscorer. His talent and talent for the game was evident from the start, but there was something particularly special about his style of play.

He wasn’t your typical, inexperienced, blood-and-thunder newcomer. He was measured, calm and collected, always weighing his options and never quick to rush anything. He was a wise old head on young shoulders.

Over the next four years, Havertz quickly made a name for himself as the brightest spark in the future of German football and wowed viewers with his ghostly movement and ability to time any pass. or race with infallible ease.

His graceful glide across the ground caught the eye, patrolling the last third like a shark, waiting for a poor soul to take its bait.

He made instant comparisons with Muller, as he operates in similar areas in the bottom third that most regular players don’t dare enter. He nurtures defenders’ every move, reacting to a misplaced step off the line faster than any other player can anticipate, and shows icy poise in front of goal.

Havertz has also perfected archery inside the full-back to escape his marker and knock down the goal, and he has demonstrated on countless occasions for Bayer that he can finish even from the most angles. treble, however large the goal. covered by the stopper.

“It has grown enormously in Leverkusen. He moves very well between the lines, is quite fast, sure on the ball and knows how to find space. He has a strong instinct for goal at a young age ”

Hansi Flick on Havertz

It’s not just about running behind where he makes his money. Like most attacking midfielders, Havertz thrives in late runs into the box, coming in without a follow-up and using his tight control or superb first finish to get the ball home.

It is this natural instinct and awareness of his surroundings that makes him so good, something that can only be nurtured with a deep love of the game and a desire to become the best at what it is. With such an array of technical skills, it’s no wonder it’s ranked world-class.

Statistically, his goals and assists during his time in Germany were out of the ordinary for a kid his age. He had seven goals and 13 assists in his first two seasons as a professional, and while these weren’t scary numbers, they were a harbinger of what was to come.

At the start of the 2018/19 campaign, Havertz had assessed his opponents, considered his own abilities and decided, “Yeah, I’ll have some.” Although he only managed three assists, he scored more than double the total he achieved in his first two years, scoring 16 in the Bundesliga and becoming the main man to round off moves. as much as providing them.

Kai havertz
Primed and ready | TF-Images / Getty Images

He went on to increase his assists for his teammates, scoring six in 2019/20, while adding 12 more than respectable league goals to his total. He hit that dozen with an expected goal rate of 9.53, showing just how clinical and efficient he can be in the box.

Much like Muller then, Havertz was gifted with a goal instinct, while appreciating the art of a good pass. Ruthless, creative and altruistic in good measures.

This excellent form has spread to the European stage as well, where he has scored four goals in five matches, putting himself in the big boys’ showcase. He scored a penalty against Rangers in the round of 16, assuming responsibility with nonchalant ease.

As for the big stages, he has yet to appreciate the heights his talents deserve. He graced the 2020 DFB-Pokal Cup final with his presence, as Leverkusen faced possible triple Bayern winners, and he gave a brilliant account of himself.

“We’ve had a lot of good players throughout the club’s history at Bayer Leverkusen, but Kai Havertz is the best of them all.”

Rudi Voller on Havertz

A 4-2 loss far from telling the whole story, as Havertz rocked Die Roten from the first whistle, carving out three or four golden chances, only for his wasting teammates to waste his practical work. Their poor finish was punished and the Bayer starlet could only console himself with a last minute penalty – which he expertly dispatched.

It was evident from this posting that he didn’t deserve to be on the losing side and was ready to be tested at the highest level. Now at Chelsea, Havertz has had the opportunity to show the world what we already know: he’s destined for greatness.

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