Mikel Arteta has told Arsenal fans they could have Martin Odegaard-style results if they offer the same support to Kai Havertz.
The Gunners boss offered a staunch defence of his £65million signing, who hasn’t quite hit the ground running following his move from Chelsea.
Havertz is yet to register a goal or an assist in four competitive appearances, despite playing 323 out of a possible 360 minutes in the Premier League and Community Shield.
Poor finishing in front of goal hasn’t helped the German either, but Arteta is delighted with his contributions off of the scoresheet.
Speaking to the media ahead of Sunday’s clash against Manchester United, the Spaniard said: “I’ll tell you what I feel about him, that I love him and I see his qualities every day in training.
“His workrate is excellent, a lot of the things he does at the front of the team is so good, the visual one.
“The one with the stats is what is missing at the moment, to put the ball in the net and to arrive on those and have a different impact on the game, but for the rest it’s there.”
Arteta is confident the goals and assists will come for Havertz, but he has singled-out one factor that will help.
Recalling numerous examples of signings that have come good at the Emirates after early struggles during his tenure, Arteta put forward a rather compelling argument that Havertz could join the list.
He continued: “It’s difficult to ask, especially our people in our stadium and out supporters, for more, but my feeling is give him love and we will get the best out of him.
“Like with any other player, and I think we have some very, very, very beautiful examples with players that we have given a lot of support and given them love and they have felt that and just exploded.
“A lot of good examples, so I will stick to that, because not everyone is going to be willing for Arsenal to do well, but the ones that really by heart and soul want the best for the club, let’s do it because he has a lot to give us.”
When a journalist in the room namechecked captain Martin Odegaard as the perfect example of a player who overcame a difficult couple of months, Arteta was keen to expand on the point.
“More, more than two months,” he interjected. “And with Gabriel Magalhaes it was the same.
“And Ben White who ‘could not play as a full back’ Aaron Ramsdale was ‘not good enough’ and now you sign another goalkeeper and it’s ‘a catastrophe’ but Aaron Ramsdale wasn’t good enough for Arsenal?
“Bukayo Saka was a left back eh? And now he’s playing on the right wing. Granit Xhaka… so we have so many examples, good examples, but the players have to love what they do, and I think they love what they do more when they’re supported.”
One sticking point for Havertz has very much been his position, with him often relied upon as a centre-forward at Chelsea.
That wasn’t the case at Bayer Leverkusen, where he produced his best performances and goal return, and it looks likely it won’t be at Arsenal either.
When asked if the 24-year-old’s best position is on the left of a midfield three, Arteta replied: “Yes. Or right. We will see, because things will change and you will find chemistry.
“Granit, if he wasn’t playing with Alex [Zinchenko], maybe he would have been different.
“But something was there, but that chemistry built not only on the pitch but outside and that helped the whole thing, the whole fluidity.
“If you put Fabio [Vieira] and [Gabriel] Martinelli together something good is going to happen because they are like brothers, and it’s something that is not in the tactics, not in the formation.
“We’re talking about a player at his age who has already won a lot. And it’s been three Premier League games. Calma [calm down].”
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