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Thursday Cannon Fodder: perception vs. reality

Leeds United v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

I saw a tweet this morning (and I can’t find it again) that had a boxcar stats comparison between Kai Havertz and Alexandre Lacazette in the Premier League. Their production was shockingly similar, which, given the consensus on Lacazette was that he was near-washed to washed, doesn’t speak well of Havertz.

I think Kai Havertz is a good player. I would have liked to see him at Arsenal. But he’s currently dining out on a handful of big goals that are keeping the conversation on him away from “is he a bust” which is where it probably should be. At the very least, the conversation should be “why aren’t Chelsea getting more from Kai Havertz” because they absolutely should be. For the price Chelsea paid (north of £70M) and for the level of player people think he is, he should be doing more.

I’m sure there are other, similarly situated players. Guys who were expected to be good, who commanded big fees, and just haven’t lived up to it. Nicolas Pépé comes to mind, although I don’t think he joined Arsenal with nearly the same level of hype and expectation as Havertz because he wasn’t as well-known and he was coming from France as opposed to Germany.

Really what I’m curious about are players that, for whatever reason, seem to be insulated from the “are they any good / why aren’t they producing” conversation.