Kai Havertz is the German wonderkid that models his game on Barcelona icon Xavi and is the latest star to emerge from Bayer Leverkusen’s talent factory… now Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern Munich face £100m fight to get him
- Kai Havertz is considered one of the most in-demand young players in Europe
- The Bayer Leverkusen ace interests Liverpool, Man United and Bayern Munich
- His starring role in the Europa League against Porto only heightens his value
- Havertz has modelled his game on Xavi and has composure beyond his years
- Leverkusen acts as a finishing school for top talent and he looks next to graduate
Even with the stakes increasing and the expectation on his shoulders becoming greater and greater, 20-year-old Kai Havertz points to juggling school exams and first team football as one of his toughest assignments.
‘I had to do my secondary school exams at the same time as playing in the DFB Cup,’ he told bundesliga.com.
‘I had an exam on Wednesday after an away game on the Tuesday evening that went to extra time and penalties. I got home relatively late and had to do an exam the next day. I don’t want to talk about how the exam went!’
Kai Havertz is the future of the Germany team and is set to spark a bidding war this summer
The Bayer Leverkusen wonderkid is expected to command a fee of around £100million
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left) and Jurgen Klopp (right) are keen to see Havertz in English football
That penalty shoot-out defeat – in which Havertz scored his spot-kick – to local rivals Sportfreunde Lotte was in 2016-17. Havertz was just 17 and having become the youngest player in the club’s history to feature in the Bundesliga at that time, he was starting to gain recognition as the latest to step on the club’s famous production line.
Leverkusen have long accepted themselves as a club designed to develop talent, rather than one that represents a final destination for the game’s elite talents.
Michael Ballack, Dimitar Berbatov, Toni Kroos, Arturo Vidal and Son Heung-min have all come and gone in years gone by. Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and Tottenham possessed the pulling power to lure them away.
Leverkusen managed to keep Havertz last season, this time round it is unlikely to be so simple.
The sensation tucks away his side’s third goal in the Europa League at FC Porto on Thursday
His starring role in the game included two assists and will only add to excitement around him
‘I am glad that we still held [on to Kai Havertz] this year,’ Leverkusen chief Rudi Voller said on German TV programme ‘100% Bundesliga’ this week. ‘We’ll see how it looks in summer. He still has a contract until 2022 – these are, of course, the classic facts.
‘There was already interest in the summer, but we told him that it would be good for him to stay with us for another year. And that was the right decision.’
With Havertz – the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach 100 games – now a seasoned pro in Leverkusen’s famed set-up, there is no doubt in the North Rhine-Westphalia region that he is destined for greatness.
His starring role in the team’s 3-1 win in the Europa League on Thursday night only heightens excitement around him. He set up Leverkusen’s first two goals before adding a third himself to give his side a great advantage in the first leg.
Havertz (right) is blessed with pace and is showing a level which is outgrowing Leverkusen
Michael Ballack (left) and Dimitar Berbatov (right) left the club once they were established
BAYER LEVERKUSEN’S FAMOUS ALUMNI
Michael Ballack (Retired)
Dimitar Berbatov (Retired)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid)
Arturo Vidal (Barcelona)
Son Heung-min (Tottenham)
Bernd Leno (Arsenal)
A £100million move this summer beckons. The big question is: where?
Havertz has been viewed as a generational talent since he was 10 years old, tearing it up for his youth team in Aachen, Germany.
Leverkusen, with a keen eye on recruiting the best young talents, signed him up and his progress accelerated at a similar speed to how he now plays on the pitch.
Pace is one of his most impressive attributes, even given his 6ft 2′ frame that is hardly typical of a quick wide player.
But it is his maturity, his composure at such a young age that makes him an attractive option for managers across the continent this summer.
‘I’m a calm guy,’ he told ESPN. ‘I’m not nervous. I’ve never been that. Maybe that helps me on the pitch.’
Germany boss Joachim Low went further to describe Havertz as a ‘veteran’ already. The early impressions were very, very good.
When Havertz broke through at 17, he juggled football matches with his final school exams
Soon the football took over and his ascent to one of the best in Germany has been captivating
KAI HAVERTZ STATS AT BAYER LEVERKUSEN
Yellow cards: 11
Liverpool and Manchester United are among the teams keen to secure the German wonderkid’s signature but Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are also said to be in the mix.
And there is often a pattern that the Bavarian side hoover up the best talents Germany has to offer. Only Havertz has already insisted the path is not set in stone for him.
‘Bayern Munich is a great club, but I can’t say I only want to stay in Germany,’ Havertz previously said. ‘Some people want to spend their whole lives here. I’m not that guy. I’m open to anything.’
The departure of Julian Brandt, who left for Borussia Dortmund last summer, impacted Havertz and the rest of the team this season. His position altered to being something closer to a box-to-box midfielder and for that, he looked to Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez for inspiration.
The Spaniard is considered one of the finest ever central midfielders and it is his intelligence that Havertz is now trying to apply to his own game.
‘Xavi says you play football with your head,’ he added to ESPN. ‘For me, intelligent players are the best players.’
Havertz has confessed that he models his game these days on Barcelona icon Xavi Hernandez
The 20-year-old can play as a deep-lying midfielder, as well as in attack, and excels at both
His football intelligence is unquestionable – his exam intelligence is something he is more keen to forget. But now he needs to think, what is best for his career?
Bayern are in desperate need of freshening up with pace and creativity top of their list for the summer. Liverpool are searching for a reliable creative spark to fill the Philippe Coutinho void in their midfield three. Havertz’s versatility would also provide Jurgen Klopp with options should anything happen to his front three.
And then there is Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s youthful makeover of the side he inherited. Havertz would be a huge statement of intent for the Norwegian manager and Berbatov may be roped in to help convince Havertz it is Old Trafford, and not Anfield, that should be his new home.
Whatever transpires between now and June, Havertz will not find himself short of options. He just needs to make sure he passes the test to pick the best one.
Share this article
Source: Read Full Article