Josh Williams has dubbed Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz as a potential long-term replacement for Roberto Firmino, while speaking on the Analysing Anfield podcast (March 19th, 28:50).
It has been reported by SportBild, via Sport Witness, that Bayern Munich believe that Liverpool won’t move for the German midfielder, as Leverkusen are looking for a fee of over €100m (£90.3m), while The Daily Mail have stated that it could require £100m to sign him.
Williams was sceptical of paying this fee, as somebody bought for that amount of money should be “transformative”, and his numbers don’t reflect that.
However, he did offer an indication into a very important role that the 20-year-old could fulfil, saying (28:50): “He is quite unique, and I think with a player like this you have to look a little bit beyond the numbers. I think if Liverpool are interested in this player, he would be as a long-term heir to Firmino.
“Firmino’s obviously a very odd type of player, in terms of he’s a centre-forward but he’s a centre midfielder as well. He’s got brilliant touch, first touch is superb, complete 360 [degrees] awareness of what’s going on around him. He’s very unselfish and he links the play very, very smoothly. He’s comfortable dropping back into midfield despite being a striker.
“Kai Havertz ticks virtually all of those boxes. Kai Havertz’s spatial awareness of what’s going on around him, the swivelling of his head, is very, very good. He’s 6 foot 2 and currently playing in central mid I think, or he’s certainly played a lot of minutes in central mid.”
So far this season, Havertz has recorded 10 goals and seven assists from 34 games across all competitions for Leverkusen – it may be concerning that none of these came in his five Champions League games.
However, he does average 2.3 key passes and 2.3 dribbles per Bundesliga game, while completing 87.1% of his completed passes.
Firmino hasn’t necessarily been the most prolific in front of goal either, but does have 11 goals and 12 assists from 43 games across all competitions.
It should be noted that he also makes the same number of dribbles to Firmino’s Premier League average, as well as making 0.5 key passes.
This pricetag is fairly extortionate, but if Havertz can replicate Firmino’s impact in the long run then it will likely feel worth it.