He’s a ball player, a creative guy, really elegant. His potential is off the charts. His level is that high, whether it’s Man City, Liverpool, United, Arsenal, whoever – he fits in every team. Someone described him as a combination of Michael Ballack and Mesut Ozil, which is pretty good company to be in. He’s that good.”
That was Hargreaves’ verdict on the curiously brilliant Kai Havertz when he was quizzed by 90min earlier this week.
The England international was speaking several days removed from Havertz stealing the show against Werder Bremen last weekend, nodding in two goals to help keep Bayer Leverkusen in the hunt for Champions League spot.
For a player that has already been hyped up to the hilt, the assured performance only brought him more admirers and all eyes were on the 20-year-old as Bayer travelled to face Gladbach, in front of a capacity crowd of cardboard cutouts at BORUSSIA-PARK.
Yet despite the prying eyes of the recyclable spectators in attendance and the millions of onlookers watching at home, Havertz played with freedom and confidence – once again bagging a match winning brace.
The German got his side off to a perfect start with just seven minutes on the clock, racing onto the end of Karim Bellarabi’s pass and showing ice cool composure to slot the ball past the usually imperious Yann Sommer.
Sommer seemed likely to come out on top before Havertz deceived the Swiss stopper with a clever feint which allowed him to just about squeeze his shot in. A fine example of the Germany international wisdom and intelligence that defy his tender years.
No player in Bundesliga history has scored more goals before their 21st birthday than Kai Havertz: 34 and counting.
A must-watch talent. ? pic.twitter.com/srWSR7s83l
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 23, 2020
His second goal came was a penalty – the sixth successful spot kick of his senior career. The fact that he is trusted from 12 yards over more senior teammates is further evidence of his remarkable talent and standing within the squad.
After the game, the statpacks that have inundated social media since Havertz burst onto the scene during the 2016/17 as a precocious 17-year-old continued to flood in. The brace means that he has now managed 10 goals and seven assists in his last 15 games, as he continues to bounce back from his slow – by his own ludicrously high standards – start to the season.
Also, no other player in Bundesliga history has bagged more goals before their 21st birthday – though Erling Haaland will surely come close to breaking this if he continues his superhuman scoring exploits.
Incredible statistics are one thing, but what makes Havertz such a fascinating player is that he defies conventional description. Physically he looks like a dynamic, box-to-box and his strength, towering height and pace seem to support this classification.
Spoke to Bundesliga big man Owen Hargreaves about a few things this week – not least why everyone with a @btsportfootball sub should be watching Gladbach/Leverkusen tomorrow afternoon.
Hint: it’s because Kai Havertz pic.twitter.com/o3jgP2VVBj
— Chris Deeley (@ThatChris1209) May 22, 2020
When you watch him play though, his elegance and inventive passing ability – more akin to a cultured playmaker – becomes hard to ignore.
Interested clubs should form a disorderly queue for his services. He is a confusingly excellent footballer who could – as Hargreaves rightly points – fit into any team in the world. Regardless of where he ends up, Havertz is destined to influence European football significantly for years to come.