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Kai Havertz: Establishing Bonds at Arsenal
- Updated: November 22, 2023
In the realm of North London, Kai Havertz has found a new home, not just as a striker on the field but as a member of the Arsenal family. The German player shares insights into his life in the vibrant city and the process of building connections with his newfound supporters.
Born and raised in Aachen, the westernmost city in Germany, Havertz’s football journey commenced in the garden with his grandfather, who played a pivotal role in fostering his early skills. Reflecting on his roots, Havertz expressed, “My grandpa really got me into football. He helped me take my first steps. Obviously, my brother and father also did their bit to get me out there playing at an early age. Everyone was football crazy, and we were just a football family. We loved football, and everything revolved around it, so I grew up with it, and that’s how this passion developed.”
At the tender age of four, Havertz joined local side Alemannia Mariadorf, where his grandfather served as the club chairman. Displaying talent beyond his years, he quickly advanced through the ranks, playing alongside children two years his senior. Scouts took notice, and after a promising year with Alemannia Aachen, then in the second tier, Bayer Leverkusen secured his signature in 2010.
During his decade-long tenure at the BayArena, Havertz solidified his status as one of Germany’s most promising talents. Despite facing challenges, including a growth spurt during his teenage years, Havertz’s prowess shone through. Notably, at just 17, he joined first-team training under then-head coach Roger Schmidt, marking the beginning of his ascent.
“I scored goals,” Havertz recalled in a 2020 ESPN interview. “A lot of goals. And I realized that these players are not that much better than I am. I can play with them. That helped me a lot. It was the first moment that I realized that I could do big things.”
Havertz’s breakthrough continued with records at Leverkusen. He became the club’s youngest first-team debutant and, at 17 years, nine months, and 23 days, the youngest goalscorer. His standout performances led to him becoming the second-youngest player in Bundesliga history to score twice in a game. The 2018/19 season saw him set a record for the most goals by a teenager in a top-flight season, netting 17 times.
The summer of 2020 marked a new chapter for Havertz as he made the move to Chelsea, culminating in a Champions League victory in his debut season. Reflecting on the triumph, he shared, “I think the Champions League is a special tournament and I think every football player just loves to play there. I was fortunate to win the trophy, and for me, it was the best feeling I’ve ever had.”
Now, Havertz embarks on a fresh challenge with Arsenal, a club he frequently faced during his time at Stamford Bridge. Sharing his initial impressions, he noted, “From outside, Arsenal always looked like a family. That’s the feeling I got when playing. And when I joined, that was exactly what it was like, and the staff are really nice too – and that makes life easier for a new player.”
Engaging with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta played a significant role in Havertz’s decision to join the club. “From the first minute that I spoke to Mikel about joining Arsenal, I had this feeling that he respects all of us very much, so that was also a big part of me joining the club. I just felt the togetherness of the club from the players and especially within the fans and the whole club.”
Describing the training ground as a “big family,” Havertz underscores the importance of unity in achieving greatness. His integration into the first-team dressing room has been facilitated by familiar faces, including Declan Rice, a connection forged through Mason Mount, and Jorginho, a former Chelsea teammate. “For me, it was very easy to come into the team because there are so many young players. I’ve played against a lot of them already, so I know them from the pitch, and I have found it easy to make friends here. Hopefully, it will continue like this.”
As Havertz dons the No. 29 jersey for Arsenal, he not only brings his football prowess but a wealth of experiences that have shaped him into the player he is today. The synergy between his skills and the camaraderie within the Arsenal family holds the promise of exciting times ahead for both player and club.
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By- Sahiba Suri