Arsenal have announced the signing of Chelsea attacker Kai Havertz on a five-year contract, with the option for a further year. The deal has reportedly been closed at £50m with another £15m in add-ons – forming a total sum of £65m, of which the fee is payable over three years. Havertz will wear the number 29 shirt, the same as he wore at Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen.
Chelsea had not, initially, planned on allowing Havertz to leave during the summer. However, Havertz’s waning contract status (the German had only two years remaining on his deal), coupled with the club’s need to recoup some transfer fees following a staggering £600m spent in the 2022/23 season, meant that Arsenal were able to complete the deal quickly.
The deal to sign Havertz is something of a shock for Arsenal fans. Initially, Arsenal fans has thought that West Ham’s Declan Rice would play in the advanced midfield role, while Brighton’s Moisés Caicedo would fill in in the defensive midfield role. Instead, Arsenal decided that Havertz would serve as the club’s replacement for the departing Granit Xhaka. Real Madrid and Bayern Munich had also expressed an interest in the player, the latter of which is managed by former-Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel.
Havertz has endured something of a tough time in England. After making the switch from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea for a £71m fee, Havertz has since failed to capture the imagination of fans and pundits alike.
There has been a feeling among many in the game that Havertz has been misused at Chelsea. Chelsea’s lack of a recognised striker has often meant that Havertz, who is ostensibly an attacking midfielder who can also play on the wing, has had to be used as a false nine. Though Havertz has done a commendable job in the role, it is still a position in which he has struggled.
Havertz is the latest in a long line of players who have traded West London for North London. Petr Čech joined for £10.5m back in 2015, which was then followed by David Luiz in 2019, Willian in 2020 and Jorginho in January. New Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino was keen to keep Havertz at the club, but the club’s inflated squad list, coupled with Havertz’s desire to seek a new challenge elsewhere, meant that he was sold.
Havertz began his career at Bayer Leverkusen in Germany. While there, the German attacker became one of the club’s brightest youth products and established himself as one of Germany’s top young talents. In four years with the club, Havertz scored 46 goals in 150 games across all competitions, finishing as a runner-up in the 2019/20 DFB-Pokal.
Following a series of excellent performances in Germany, Havertz caught the eye of many around the continent. Arsenal themselves had previously explored the signing, however, they were unable to pay the full price that Leverkusen asked for and Havertz moved London rivals Chelsea.
While his time at Chelsea has been something of a mixed bag, there have been some extraordinary highs for the player. Havertz scored the winning goal in the UEFA Champions League final against Manchester City in 2021, and lifted the trophy. From there, he also lifted the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.
After enduring a torrid 2022/23 campaign, scoring 9 goals in 47 games, Havertz was ready to move across town. It is thought that the Germany will fill in for the departing Granit Xhaka who, somewhat ironically, is moving to Leverkusen. Mikel Arteta, who has already re-vitalised the stagnant career of Martin Ødegaard, would love to line-up with a dynamic and creative midfield trio of Havertz, Ødegaard and, if a bid is accepted, West Ham captain Declan Rice.
Havertz is the club’s first signing of the summer. Focus is now turning to other targets. A club-record fee of £105m has reportedly been lodged with West Ham for Declan Rice, while the club are also keen to wrap up a deal for Ajax defender Jurriën Timber. The club are also looking to announce new contracts for Reiss Nelson and William Saliba.