Arteta could bin Havertz by unleashing £150k-p/w star in new role

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Arsenal’s chequered start to the Premier League season has still managed to breed three wins and an unbeaten start, with fans likely wondering just how high they could go if this is the squad at its weakest…

However, despite their ability to continue winning, many would agree that they cannot maintain such underwhelming performances and expect to challenge for the title again. As such, Mikel Arteta must make some changes.

One of the main points of contention within the team remains Kai Havertz, who has been a lightning rod for criticism since making his £65m move in the summer.

How has Kai Havertz played at Arsenal?

The German’s position remains undefined, with what he offers his team reaching much further than mere goals and assists.

Despite that, pundit Don Hutchinson still called for him to be dropped on BBC 5 Live Sport.: “What’s happened is a manager being stubborn and a manager who has spent an awful lot of money on Kai Havertz and now he’s trying to shoehorn him in and it’s unbalanced them.”


As such, despite his 7.05 average rating, buoyed by his 1.5 key passes and 1.5 tackles per game (via Sofascore), is often overlooked. Perhaps taking him out of the firing line could be best for not only his future success with Arsenal, but also the team at this moment in time.

After all, the current international break has arguably shown that they have a natural replacement just waiting and willing to be unleashed in Oleksandr Zinchenko.

How good is Oleksandr Zinchenko?

As fans tuned in to watch England face Ukraine in their latest Euro 2024 qualifying clash, they were hardly treated to a spectacle as Kyle Walker’s close-range effort marked the only goal for the Three Lions in a dull 1-1 draw.


However, those from north London will have been taking particular note of Zinchenko’s performance, who posted a fine creative display having been deployed as a central midfielder.

Despite his side seeing just 32% of the ball, something he is far from accustomed to given how his club side plays, Zinchenko was economical and incisive when given the chance and posted the highest rating of anyone on his side, via Sofascore.

His 7.2 figure was further bolstered by his one key pass and one tackle, but mainly upheld through his late arrival into the box to actually fire the Blue and Yellows in front.

That ability to ghost into the area and finish with ease is exactly what Arsenal have been missing this campaign, given their wins have come from two slender one-goal margins and two late strikes against Manchester United.

Oleksandr Zinchenko’s Premier League Seasons

Average Rating

Goal Contributions

2023/24 (Arsenal)



2022/23 (Arsenal)



2021/22 (Manchester City)



2020/21 (Manchester City)



2019/20 (Manchester City)



All stats via Sofascore

Adding this extra bit of quality could be key for Arteta, who would surely benefit from having someone so versatile and positionally intelligent in that role. Not to mention that, in the earlier parts of his career, the £150k-per-week maestro was actually an attacking midfielder before Pep Guardiola revolutionised his role.

Journalist Sam Lee even referenced one quote made by the Spaniard back in 2018: “In the first half he was outstanding, we cannot forget that he is a No.10, but we insist a lot on the duels” – the defensive side of the game – “He has his chance now to stay here next season, it depends on him.”

With the 26-year-old ranking in the top 1% for progressive passes per 90 when compared to other full-backs across Europe, perhaps this international showing could spur the Gunners to try him out in Havertz’s more advanced role, to see if he can take all he has learned from being an attack-minded inverted left-back and convert it into becoming a stellar midfield general once again.

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