Rio Ferdinand Praises Arsenal Summer Signing Who Should Be “Applauded” For The Way He Has Answered His Critics

TNT Sports pundit Rio Ferdinand has reserved special praise for the way Kai Havertz has progressed since moving to Arsenal last summer.

Many questioned the Gunners’ decision to pay £65m for the German international but, speaking before the game against Porto on Tuesday night, Ferdinand said:

“His character, his mentality has to be applauded because questions were asked of him. The way he’s ghosting around in this penalty box at the moment is beautiful.”

“He remains hard to pick up at the moment because he isn’t a conventional number nine. He plays off of defenders, that’s the type of player I hated playing against and he’s really being clinical and effective.”

Havertz had a very tough start to his Arsenal career

The forward only scored 1 goal in his first 19 appearances for the Gunners after moving from Chelsea, and many fans were questioning whether the club had been sold a dud.

However, Havertz’s performances have slowly improved to the point where he has become a real problem for opposition defences.

Playing as a No.9 has helped

When Havertz first arrived at the Emirates, it was clear that manager Mikel Arteta intended to use him in the same “advanced 8” role that Granit Xhaka had so much success with last season.

However, the German rarely looked comfortable in that position and it has only been since he has switched to starting as a centre forward where we have seen the best of him.

In his last 4 starts as a No.9, Havertz has scored 3 times and provided 2 assists. Despite Gabriel Jesus being back fit, the 24-year-old’s performances have been keeping the Brazilian out of the starting lineup. Supporters will be hoping that he can maintain this form for the rest of the campaign.

Watch the Chris Wheatley Show on Shots!TV here as Chris discusses Arsenal’s new striker solution and the title race

David Tully

David Tully

David has worked as a football reporter for the last fifteen years. Having started as an intern at Snack Media, he then went on to become a freelancer, working on various different sites. At the start of 2023, he took up his current role as content writer for National World's Football News Network.