Kai Havertz underwhelming start to life at Arsenal continued on Wednesday night after a dismal display during the 3-1 defeat away at West Ham in the Carabao Cup.
The Germany international played the full 90 minutes but failed to contribute in any meaningful way outside of a few missed half-chances. Havertz struggled to create anything for his fellow attackers, while another game passed him by without a goal for himself.
In the aftermath of such a display, a brutal review from Frank Leboeuf of Havertz’s first few months as a Chelsea player has resurfaced and it is eery how fitting the scathing words are when applied to the 24-year-old’s start with the Gunners.
The comments from Leboeuf came when Havertz had made 17 appearances for Chelsea back in 2020. Fast forward three years and he has made 15 for Arsenal so far this term, yet the review could have quite easily come straight after full-time at the London Stadium.
“Almost invisible,” Leboeuf claimed when asked to describe Havertz Chelsea start. “I touched on the point some weeks ago. We heard Frank Lampard say, ‘No, we need to give him time’.
“But I don’t know, it’s something that I don’t like, the way sometimes it feels like he’s not there, that he’s not trying to compensate for a lack of confidence with a desire or just being a warrior, showing us that, ‘okay, I’m not good at the moment, but I’m going to fight for the club and not be invisible.’
“We share texts during the game and we were wondering if he was on the field. You can be bad – [Timo] Werner didn’t have a good game – but we saw him trying to get something going. We don’t see Havertz getting anything. I’m very concerned about that guy.”
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta raised plenty of eyebrows when he forked out a whopping £65million to pluck Havertz from Stamford Bridge in the summer, but had the backing of the Arsenal faithful due to the credit he’d amassed via other shrewd deals.
However, patience is starting to wear thin among the Gunners fanbase and the performance against the Hammers was one of Havertz worst to date in an Arsenal shirt. For someone who boasts strong link-up play as a trait, it was non-existent on a rainy night in east London.
Speaking back in August, Arteta publicly backed his man, telling reporters: “I’ll tell you what I feel about him, that I love him and I see his qualities every day in training. His work rate is excellent, a lot of the things he does at the front of the team is so good.”
Newcastle await Arsenal in their next league clash and there would be no better time for Havertz to kickstart his Gunners career. A win is needed to keep within touching distance of league leaders and local rivals Tottenham.