Mikel Arteta has indicated that he is willing to use new signing Kai Havertz in a variety of roles, including as a striker, following the German’s first goal for the club.
Havertz scored a stunning half-volley as Arsenal romped to a 5-0 victory over the MLS All-Stars, taking down a Marquinhos cross with his chest before firing home, and this has caused some excitement amongst fans who are eager to see him used in attacking situations.
All indications so far have been that Havertz will directly replace Granit Xhaka as an advanced central midfielder next to Martin Odegaard in Arsenal’s 4-3-3 shape, but Arteta has now hinted that Havertz could even be used as a striker.
Speaking after the game, the Spaniard praised his new signing, and highlighted his size and aerial ability as useful in certain attacking situations.
“He gives us something very different with his quality and size as well, when you have to beat the press for example and use him as a target man,” he stated.
“So, we will see. For now, he’s playing in the attacking midfield position, but I’m sure throughout the season and throughout games as well, we’re going to have the options to play him in different positions.”
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On paper, having Havertz in the ‘Xhaka role’ means that he will occupy advanced positions and make late runs into the box. Xhaka notched up 16 goals and assists last season, and fans will be hopeful that Havertz can generate a similar level of output in his new role.
Given that Havertz stands at 6″3, one of the tallest players in the entire squad, Arteta’s comments may foreshadow the Germany international being used in a variety of roles, including as a target man. Arsenal have lacked a physical centre-forward since Olivier Giroud, and whilst he may not be used in this kind of role as a starter, in some games Arteta may push him forward alongside Gabriel Jesus.
This gives Arsenal an incredible amount of tactical flexibility, as Arteta can now even make in-game changes in tough games where the team are coming under a lot of pressure. Havertz can offer an aerial target for Aaron Ramsdale to aim at with long balls when under heavy fire.
If the former Chelsea star settles well in North London and returns to his best form, he could prove to be an excellent asset in a variety of positions.