He reminds me of myself at Barcelona Cesc Fabregas praises Arsenal star Kai Havertz 

He reminds me of himself at Barcelona Cesc Fabregas praises Arsenal star Kai Havertz

Cesc Fabregas has praised Kai Havertz for turning his fortunes around and says the versatile Arsenal star reminds him of himself when he switched between two different roles at Barcelona.

Havertz endured a difficult start to life at Arsenal after completing a high-profile £65million move from London rivals Chelsea last summer, managing just one goal in his opening 12 league appearances and struggling to make a significant impact within games.

But five goals in nine matches for club and country seemed to kick-start Havertz’s campaign and the 24-year-old has appeared a player reborn in Arsenal colours since Christmas.

Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah have flattered to deceive up front this term, managed just nine goals between them in the English top flight, prompting Mikel Arteta to experiment with Havertz as a false nine in recent months.

And the Germany international – who scored the winner for Chelsea in the 2021 Champions League final – has shown real promise in his new role, netting seven times in his last 15 matches in all competitions.

Perhaps the highlight of Havertz’s debut season came on Tuesday night as the forward completed a second-half double to help Arsenal to a thumping 5-0 victory over his former club Chelsea, the Gunners’ biggest win over their rivals in the Premier League era.

Analysing Havertz’s resurgence on the Planet Premier League podcast, ex-Arsenal captain Fabregas said: ‘I don’t like to talk about me but he reminds me a little bit of me at Barcelona because I used to play these two roles that he plays as a false nine, in a way, and a number eight and I know exactly what it feels like.

‘It’s good because he now feels an important player for the team but, at the same time, you don’t really know where you’re going to play the next game.

‘It can confuse you. It’s better sometimes just to stick to one place and get the best out of it.

‘But now [Thomas] Partey is back which is great news for Arsenal, then [Declan] Rice will come a little bit as a number eight more often and [Martin] Odegaard, so his place I think from now on will be the number nine spot and it suits him very well for the way Arsenal want to play.

‘I really like it because because he has very good link-up play, he attacks the spaces, he can score goals, he has good timing of his runs. He plays simple, he doesn’t try to make too many tricks or difficult things.

‘He does what he has to do, he’s very simple in that, very basic, and that’s what makes him good.

‘He’s scoring lots of goals, important goals, the fans seem to like him as well so he’s a big plus for Arsenal this year.’

Asked whether it’s difficult to relax when switching between two different roles, Fabregas replied: ‘Yeah, because it’s two completely different roles.

‘One is more of a midfielder, you have to defend in a different way, then you are a striker and your movements are completely different, your positions on the pitch, the way you defend, the way you attack, so the concept is different but the style of play is the same.

‘In this case, he’s an intelligent boy, he’s getting the best out of himself, the players seem to understand his game very well as well so I’m happy for him.

‘I always saw the talent at Chelsea. He gave them a Champions League as well, scored the winning goal against Manchester City.

‘I always saw that he was a special talent and I’m happy that is has come out again.’

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