So yet, there has been no apparent resolution to the question of where Kai Havertz will finally fit into this Arsenal team. So far this season, he has played left central midfield, offensive midfield, center-forward, and even wide.
£65 million is a large investment to not have appearing on a regular basis, and it appears that Mikel Arteta does not have an instant answer in his quest to establish some consistency. However, the 2-1 victory in Sevilla may have shown a potential position, leaving the door open for the German international.
Martin Odegaard was the first player substituted by Arteta after yet another poor performance, and in his place was Havertz, not Emile Smith Rowe or Fabio Vieira. The 24-year-old was well-known for his role as Bayer Leverkusen’s right attacking midfielder.
He has a very different style and stature than Odegaard, and his contribution to the game was almost all off the ball and in fast movements. He becomes a target for long balls, which he used effectively against both Manchester City and Chelsea.
Havertz, on the other hand, has the potential to be a devastating creator and goalscorer if he can rediscover what started his career in Germany. Arteta only needed to find the ideal situation to coax this dormant ability out of his shell and into an Arsenal shirt.
Arteta is not afraid to make huge decisions with players he has signed himself. The David Raya issue should serve as a caution to any player that even someone as certain of their spot as Aaron Ramsdale previously was can be gone very fast, with no clear road back.
I spoke to Odegaard after the 1-0 win at Everton and in the wake of Raya’s first start, I asked the club captain whether it showed that anyone is susceptible to being switched out. His answer was telling. “Of course,” he replied. “Of course, the competition is huge.
“You see it in training every day, the quality that we have. Everyone has to be on their very best every day in training, so I think that’s a good thing. It will help us improve as a team as well.”
It might help to improve Arsenal for sure, but perhaps Odegaard underestimated just how quickly the competition can sneak up on you. It would be an even greater controversy if Odegaard was to be dropped but based on recent weeks perhaps it shouldn’t be?
It pains me to write this as such a huge fan of the player, but he needs to step up and no individual should stand taller than what is best for Arsenal. The hope will be that he rediscovers his best work in the coming weeks and that could be against Sheffield United on Saturday – if he’s still in the side of course.