Mikel Arteta launches defence of Kai Havertz


Mikel Arteta launches defence of Kai Havertz

 Mikel Arteta has defended new signing Kai Havertz after the 24-year-old came under scrutiny for his performance against Fulham.

Havertz made the switch across London from Chelsea to Arsenal earlier this summer in a deal worth a reported £65 million, but it hasn't exactly been plain sailing since his arrival.

The German international had a shocker during the Gunners' Cross and Volley challenge on their pre-season tour of the United States, with the versatile forward failing to score a single goal throughout the skill game.

He then received widespread stick for his display during Arsenal's disappointing 2-2 draw with Fulham at the Emirates last weekend, with one particular miss leaving supporters frustrated.

His statistics were then released after the game, leading to further uproar, with the former Bayer Leverkusen star managing just one shot and four touches in the opposition box.

It was a performance that even led Richard Keys to harshly label Havertz "[Mesut] Ozil without the talent". However, manager Arteta has warned fans to lay off Havertz, insisting that if supporters 'show him love', he will come good for Arsenal.

"I tell you what I feel about him, I love him," Arteta said during a press conference after being asked about Havertz's early Gunners career.

"I see his qualities every day in training, his work-rate is excellent. The stats are what is missing at the moment - to put the ball in the net.

"It's difficult to ask our supporters more, but my feeling is: 'give him love, and we will get the best out of him'.

"But we have some very, very beautiful examples in the last few years with players that we have given support and love, and they have felt that and just exploded. He has got a lot to give us."

A reporter likened the reception Havertz has received to that of Gabriel Martinelli when he first signed for Arsenal, before Arteta reeled off a list of first-team stars who were initially doubted by fans.

"Ben White could not play as a full-back", Arteta quipped, relaying comments he had previously heard from fans.

"Aaron Ramsdale isn't good enough and now you sign another keeper and it's a catastrophe! But Aaron Ramsdale wasn't good enough for Arsenal. Bukayo Saka was a left-back, Granit Xhaka. We have so many examples."
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