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Report: Arsenal interested in Kai Havertz

That came out of nowhere.

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Chelsea FC v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Could Arsenal be eyeing a shock transfer move for Chelsea attacker Kai Havertz? Yes, according Matt Law of The Telegraph. The Germany international reportedly does not want to remain at Stamford Bridge beyond his current deal, which expires in 2025. With clubs loathe to let players enter the last 12 months of their contracts without an extension in place, Havertz is a prime candidate to move this summer.

Chelsea are in a tough spot. They missed out on European football entirely but spent on a Champions League budget in their first two windows with Todd Boehly owning the club. The Blues reportedly need to recoup significant money in player sales this summer to cover some of that £600M spending spree and avoid running afoul of Financial Fair Play. That means a number of big names, like Havertz, could be on the move.

The big clubs around Europe will likely look to put the transfer squeeze on Chelsea, knowing they need to sell players to avoid sanctions, to pick off talented players at discount prices. Chelsea will try to anchor negotiations with high asking prices — they’ll probably ask for something approaching the £72M they spent to sign Havertz — but the club probably won’t be able come close to recouping that number. They’re negotiating from the far weaker position, after all, especially with respect to Havertz, who doesn’t want to stay at Stamford Bridge. I’d bet he moves for something in the £50-60M range.

I really like the idea of Havertz to Arsenal. I wanted him three years ago when he moved from Bayer Leverkusen to the Premier League. And I’d love to see him in North London this summer. He’s an excellent creative passer, a progressive ball-carrier, and a strong presser out of possession. He can play as a right #8, #9, and even a bit of right wing — Gabriel Jesus is one of his fbref statistical comps. He checks a lot of Mikel Arteta’s boxes — progressive carries, can play multiple positions, solid presser. It seems like a great fit.

Arsenal probably need another attacker this summer. The consensus opinion is that the club should sign a Bukayo Saka backup. Havertz probably wouldn’t fit the bill for what most people want, but adding him to the attacking stable would probably do enough to keep Saka better rested and healthier. A combination of Havertz and Reiss Nelson should be able to give Saka sufficient time off at right wing, with the bonus of adding a player (Havertz) who can cover for both Gabriel Jesus and Martin Ødegaard. Havertz is an immediate upgrade on Eddie Nketiah and Fabio Vieira as the second man for those spots and would likely be a rotational started as opposed to a strict backup.

Where are Arsenal going to find the money for all these transfers? That’s a good question. Declan Rice seems to be £92M + add-ons should Arsenal win the Premier League or Champions League. Brighton & Hove Albion rejected a £65M + £5M bid for Moises Caicedo in January. He’s reportedly Arsenal target 1B this summer — the Gunners are definitely back in for him. Kai Havertz will probably cost £55M. That’s about £220M for three players, an increase on what Arsenal have spent each of the last two summers.

Some of that money will come out of the transfer warchest, whatever size it may be. The remainder will come from player sales / money saved from freeing up wage space. I expect at least a handful of outgoings this summer in the £15-30M range, and each one will be a chunk of a larger incoming transfer fee.

Whether it happens by hook or by crook, I’d be thrilled to see Kai Havertz at Arsenal next season.