European Scout Report: Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz5 min read
When a player bursts onto the scene so aggressively, it is sometimes easy to forget their age over a period of time. Such as Kylian Mbappe is now considered one of the best players in world football, and not a ‘talent’ anymore, Kai Havertz, still only 19, is beginning to be noticed for his influence and not just his age.
The Bayer Leverkusen prodigy had his breakthrough season throughout 2016/17, where he notched up 40 appearances at the age of 18. And since that debut appearance in October for the Germans, Havertz has not had a moment to reflect and look back – his performances have skyrocketed and he has become an integral part of this Leverkusen side.
Wind forward to present day, and after multiple years playing a variety of different positions, it appears Havertz has fallen into the number 10 role seamlessly. While he can still operate out-wide on the right-hand side, the German international’s most prolific position is just behind the centre forward.
Attacking playmakers are usually considered to be the beautiful passers of the game and the players to make the final ball into the striker to finish off. While Havertz has a brilliant array of passing, he has also scored 17 goals in 39 appearances this season, which signifies his best season to date in the Bundesliga.
What a magnificent player Kai Havertz is. 19, and already 100 apps for Leverkusen. Fearless, skilful, fast, elegant and a team player. My suspicion is that he’ll do another season at Bayer, spend a few years in Munich, and then go to Catalunya or Madrid as Germany captain.
— Kevin Hatchard 🎙⚽️ (@kevinhatchard) April 13, 2019
What is perhaps most impressive, along with the goals, is his ability to remain focussed and not be sucked into what is going on around him. Havertz will know the best clubs in the world are routinely analysing him, and at 19 that can sometimes be difficult to handle, but the German forward has shown he can take the status with aplomb and keep his intensity high.
With Premier League clubs looking ahead to the summer transfer window, Havertz will be on the radar of the top six clubs who can offer some sort of European football. However, due to his contract not expiring until 2022, Leverkusen are in a position of power to demand a sizeable fee, most likely to be north of £60 million for their prized asset.
Given the transfer fee is going to be enormous, even in today’s market, it rules out even a fair amount of Premier League teams over who can activate this transfer. Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea (if their transfer embargo is not upheld) are the likely contenders, with Tottenham and Arsenal falling by the wayside.
Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac on Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz to Sport Bild: “He will surely leave Leverkusen sooner or later. There's no doubt that we're talking about a future top player.” #FCBayern #B04
— Ronan Murphy (@swearimnotpaul) April 3, 2019
All in all, with the way Havertz likes to press from the front and his mentality on the pitch, the relationship with Jurgen Klopp looks like a match made in heaven. The Bundesliga is the closest European league to the Premier League in terms of tempo, intensity and style of play, but the transition is not always straightforward. So with the help of a fellow native as coach, Liverpool would be the outstanding choice.
The Reds have been looking for an attacking playmaker to fill their midfield triumvirate, as well as someone who can also have the versatility to play out-wide, which is why Olympique Lyon’s Nabil Fekir was thought so highly of. Havertz can make that role his for over a decade with the quality he has already shown at such a young age.
Manchester United, too, are likely to be interested, but the fee might just put them off with so much work to do this summer. With the failure of a top finish, also, it dampens their chances of luring Havertz to Old Trafford given other teams who will be interested in him can offer Champions League football.
Havertz is one of the brightest players under 20 in world football and will not be short of offers from England and overseas. If the German international opts for the Premier League, his best chance of success is teaming up with Klopp at Liverpool and slotting in to the hole in the Reds’ midfield.