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Arsenal submit second transfer bid for Kai Havertz

Another bid, another expected rejection. And the beat goes on.

Chelsea FC v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Arsenal have made a second bid for Kai Havertz. The Gunners initially offered £50M for the German attacker and reportedly came back with a package worth £60M — £55M + £5M in add-ons. It’s still short of Chelsea’s £70M valuation, but it seems unlikely the Blues are going to get their asking price. It’s been a pretty quick transition from a transfer rumor that seemingly came out of left field to something that seems more likely than not to happen, but here we are. I’ll be surprised if Kai Havertz isn’t in an Arsenal shirt come next season.

Havertz’s contract expires in two years, and he has indicated he does not want to sign an extension. Add to that Chelsea’s financial difficulties (although it’s unclear what consequences, if any, they’ll face if they don’t balance their books, especially with Saudi teams ready to bail them out), and you’ve got an opportunity for Arsenal to swoop in and get value. The Gunners are said to have already agreed to personal terms with Havertz.

We’ll probably never know enough to say with certainty, but it feels like the Havertz interest was born out of opportunity rather than being part of an established, long-term plan to move for the German attacker. The way I envision it, Arsenal (Mikel Arteta, Edu, et. al.) have a big board / spreadsheet that tracks the depth chart, contract length, and when the club is going to potentially have a need in a certain spot.

It seems clear that Left 8 (I cannot wait to stop having to type that) was a spot that needed filling this summer, and the decisionmakers almost certainly have known that for a while. I’m sure they had a ranked list of players from all over the world to fill the gap. My point on Havertz is that I’m not sure he was on the list in any meaningful way until recently — that the circumstances of Chelsea’s spending spree, manager turnover, and unexpected struggles made Havertz a target of opportunity.

Or maybe he has always been towards the top of the target list because the club, as they should, know much more about which players might become available. To some extent, it doesn’t really matter which it is.

Either way, it speaks to Arsenal’s rehabilitated and revitalized standing in the football hierarchy and the work done at all levels of the organization to position the club for success. Regardless of whether Kai Havertz is a long-term target or one of opportunity, I doubt Arsenal would be able to move for him without the additional money from and draw of Champions League football. The club endured a difficult few years of rebuilding and are now in a place financially, developmentally, and quality-wise where they can take advantage of potentially unexpected opportunities that might crop up in the transfer market.

It’s a day of improved bids in North London, apparently. The Gunners also upped their offer for Declan Rice, which has reportedly already been rejected as expected. My bet is that Chelsea will reject this Havertz bid, too. Arteta & Co. will come back with better bids for both. My guess is that Arsenal end up buying Havertz for somewhere in the £57-£62M guaranteed range with some amount of add-ons. Those add-ons will be conditioned on something like winning the Premier League and / or winning the Champions League.

And let’s be real, if Arsenal win either of those, who is going to care that the club spent a bit more on players to do it?