Who is Kai Havertz? The ‘new Toni Kroos’ linked to Barca, Madrid & Bayern
Posted On March 22, 2019
The 19-year-old has been compared to some of Germany’s biggest stars, attracting the attention of Europe’s superpowers in the process
Last weekend, a German midfielder drew rave reviews for a sensational performance that included an excellent ‘pre-assist’ pass which set his side on their way to a 3-1 win and provided the perfect Christmas present for the home fans.
Mesut Ozil had a hand in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opening goal for Arsenal against Burnley with a tremendous defence-splitting pass, leaving many pundits wondering how many other players in the world could do the same.
Back in his home country, another German midfielder was putting in an incredible performance of his own in a 3-1 win, with his neat outside-of-the-boot pass creating the opening goal, giving home fans something to cheer about before the Bundesliga winter break.
Kai Havertz assisted the assister for Bayer Leverkusen’s first goal against Hertha Berlin and then went even better, scoring twice himself to help his side climb to ninth and close in on a European spot.
The 19-year-old is the next big thing in Germany, having been compared to some of the country’s best talents of the past 20 years.
The Ozil comparison existed long before last weekend, with Bayer Leverkusen managing director Rudi Voller saying this last season: “He’s a sensational player. He’s talented with that left foot of his; it’s almost as good as Mesut Ozil’s.”
Havertz welcomes the comparison, citing the Arsenal attacker as someone he has learned from.
“He has always been a player whom I love to watch and someone whose path I have followed,” Havertz told Spox. “Mesut Ozil is a really great player, who has done a lot for the national team and also his clubs.”
As well as Ozil, Havertz has been mentioned in the same breath as Real Madrid star Toni Kroos. The 28-year-old spent part of his formative years at Leverkusen, earning experience on loan from Bayern Munich which helped him become the midfield maestro he is today.
Like Kroos, Havertz has a keen eye for a pass, picking out team-mates with ease and moving into great positions to pick up the ball before building attacks.
The teenager is taller than Kroos, allowing him to use his physical power to his advantage, something that separates him from Ozil and evokes memories of another former Leverkusen midfielder: Michael Ballack.
Having made his debut at 17, Havertz is the club’s youngest ever Bundesliga debutant and earlier this year broke Timo Werner’s record to become the youngest player to reach 50 Bundesliga appearances.
During that time, he has played in a variety of positions, not just in the No.10 role, allowing him to play from deeper and see the entire field.
“He’s the biggest talent I’ve seen since Toni Kroos,” former Leverkusen head coach Heiko Herrlich told DPA.
Now, Havertz could be set to follow Ozil and Kroos with a move to one of Europe’s giants.
He is currently in the middle of his true breakout season, having made his Germany debut and then providing a perfect pass for a Serge Gnabry goal in his first start for his country.
At club level, he has continued to flourish, scoring nine goals and creating five more in 23 games before the winter break.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are always looking to add the world’s best young players to their squads and both sides are interested in the teenage talent.
But the Liga giants could find themselves beaten to the punch by Bayern Munich, with Havertz one of the Bavarians’ key targets as they return to the transfer market to address an inconsistent start to the 2018-19 season.
He has already been touted as a potential Bayern star by Germany team-mate Joshua Kimmich, enthused after Germany’s 3-0 win over Russia, “I cannot buy him, but Kai Havertz is a player who would suit us well.”
Before moving to Madrid, Kroos became a superstar at Bayern Munich, winning every German trophy as well as helping them to the treble in 2013 despite injury ruling him out of the Champions League final.
Havertz could extend the Kroos comparisons with a transfer to Munich, but wherever he goes next, he is sure to be a success.