At the tender age of 20, Kai Havertz has already been dubbed as one of the next big stars in football – a future Ballon d’Or winner, a player to stand above the rest.
This is something similar we’ve been hearing about some other youngsters as well, namely Kylian Mbappe, who’s received identical treatment from the media and other stars alike ever since breaking onto the scene.
And similarly to the young World Cup winner, Havertz’s claims seem very much warranted despite his tender. After all, not many can boast the accolade of being crowned Bayer Leverkusen’s player of the season at such a young age, nor can they boast netting an incredible 20 goals and tallying seven assists in just 42 games across all competitions in 2018/19.
This in itself is already an incredible achievement but what exactly makes Havertz so special and who is this 20-year-old who’s seemingly setting the world alight? Let’s start at the beginning.
Havertz joined the Leverkusen youth in 2010 and has quickly progressed through the ranks, reaching the senior team in 2016. Since then, his estimated value has skyrocketed and now he’s worth £81m, per Transfermarkt.
He’s the second most valuable player in the Bundesliga, only behind Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.
The attacking midfielder’s talent is undeniable. Despite not being the finished product just yet, he is already a lethal finisher, exceptionally technical with great vision and versatility while also being physically powerful enough and dominant in the air.
From the looks of it, Havertz truly is the whole package just waiting to be delivered to the doorstep of an elite club. Let’s analyse his traits in more detail.
His technical side can immediately be seen from his passing and dribbling abilities. Last season, according to Wyscout, he boasted 89.6% passing accuracy in Bundesliga with 2.25 long balls per game. Similarly, he attempted 3.76 dribbles per game in 2018/19 with a success rate of 59.1%.
It seems that if they can’t stop him fairly the opponents resort to dropping him to the ground, with Whoscored noting Havertz was fouled 1.5 times per game.
But despite only managing one key pass per game, his assist tally tells a different story. Seven assists throughout all competitions last season is an impressive figure and those usually arrive by virtue of his deadly passes.
We can see the proof of his outstanding vision and passing prowess in the examples below. Havertz receives the ball in a slightly deeper position and as soon as his spots his teammate’s run, he reacts with a beautiful pass over the defence and into the free pocket of space behind the opposition.
As we’ve seen in the stats above, this is almost a regular occurrence for the young midfielder. His 6ft 2 frame enabled him to win 1.6 aerial duels per Bundesliga game in 2018/19 and that also makes the youngster a real threat in the box in crossing situations. But his talents don’t stop just there.
According to Wyscout, Havertz has played in a multitude of positions throughout his career, ranging from central midfield, to number ten, to winger. This versatility makes him an outstanding asset to any team and it offers flexibility when the manager wishes to tinker with his system.
And judging by his heatmap above, Havertz is pretty much active on the whole right side of the pitch, regardless of his delegated position on the teamsheet.
Bayer Leverkusen have a player that offers a variety of different skills including passing, vision, technique, physicality and, most importantly, a finishing prowess that netted him 20 goals across all competitions last season.
But there’s also one final aspect worth discussing and that’s the fact that Havertz is already a clutch player at just 20 years of age.
Bayer Leverkusen played eight games in the Europa League in 2018/19 and he scored three goals and assisted a further three, a remarkable return given the prestige of the competition.
Needless to say, he played a big role in both the Bundesliga and Europa League campaigns for his team and very much deserved the Player of the Season award that was presented to him.
All that remains for us now is to wait and see how high this prodigious talent can rise in the game.
If the story so far is anything to go by, the sky is the limit for Havertz.