Mikel Arteta suggests more summer transfer surprises for Arsenal in ‘sensational’ verdict

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Arsenal star Kai Havertz has silenced his critics and his £65m transfer has now been justified (Image: Getty)

Mikel Arteta was effusive in his praise for Arsenal’s Kai Havertz for his role in his side’s 3-2 North London Derby victory over Tottenham. His comments suggest that similar big deals could be in store for players whose careers can be kickstarted by the Arsenal boss. Havertz headed home the Gunners’ third goal as they stormed into a 3-0 lead at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

His pinpoint lofted pass had already found Bukayo Saka for their second. The former Chelsea star has been pivotal as Arsenal hunt down a first Premier League title in 20 years and his qualities were on full display on Thursday. It is clear to see why Arteta has turned to Havertz to lead his attack in recent months. Not only is Havertz embracing shouldering the scoring burden – scoring 13 times this season – but his work out of possession is a key reason for his continued presence in Arsenal’s starting 11.

The 24-year-old presses intelligently and his heading ability makes him effective in both boxes. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has praised the ‘sensational’ Kai Havertz (Image: Getty)
“He was sensational in every department today,” Arteta enthused about Havertz’s performance. “He wasn’t at 100 per cent. He was ill before the match, he was a bit struggling and still he put the performance that he put in.

I thought he was unbelievable today.”

Havertz was widely criticised towards the end of his time at Chelsea and struggled in his first few months at Arsenal. A penalty against Bournemouth in September – gifted to him by Martin Odegaard as a confidence-booster – was his only goal in his first 19 appearances for the North Londoners. Arteta has transformed the former Bayer Leverkusen playmaker into a star performer, justifying the huge fee paid to Chelsea last summer. Arsenal may decide to prioritise similar deals for players whose careers require the Spaniard’s methods.

While Havertz is the best example, there are few players in Arsenal’s squad who have not gone up a level under Arteta. Jorginho, who seemed done at the elite level with Chelsea, is another star who has been rejuvenated by the 42-year-old after moving to the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal can now attract some of the biggest names in football. Declan Rice’s decision to move from West Ham last year was evidence of that.

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