At Bayer Leverkusen, they know a good midfielder when they see one. This is after all a club that over the years has had the likes of Michael Ballack, Toni Kroos and Arturo Vidal on their books. In Kai Havertz, a playmaker who first joined Leverkusen at the age of 11, they seemingly have their next midfield superstar.
Havertz was key in pushing Bayer Leverkusen into the Bundesliga’s Champions League places last season, scoring 17 goals in 34 appearances for Die Werkself as they climbed into the top four on the final day of the campaign. The midfielder who only turned 20 in June has kept up that form into the new season.
It’s little wonder then that Havertz is drawing glances from Manchester United with the Old Trafford outfit reported to be weighing up a move for the German international this January. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is desperate for some creativity through the centre of the pitch and Havertz would certainly provide that.
Comparisons have been drawn with Mesut Ozil. Of course, the two players share a nationality and broadly play in the same position - at the apex of the midfield unit. Ozil, who has been frozen out at Arsenal under Unai Emery this season, has also been tentatively linked with a move to Old Trafford, but Havertz would offer Man Utd something a little different.
While Havertz can pick a pass and break down a low defensive block, something United have struggled to do under Solskjaer, he is more mobile than Ozil and would suit the fast and furious style of play favoured at Old Trafford at this moment. Havertz is more adaptable, a player who can be moulded in the way Ozil can’t.
His goal threat from midfield would also ease the pressure currently piled on the shoulders of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Havertz is currently averaging 1.9 shots on goal per game, a higher average than any of Man Utd’s midfielders. His versatility also means he would be an option on the right side too.
At just 20, Havertz has already become the youngest player to play in the Bundesliga, the youngest player to play for Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League, the youngest player to ever score a Bundesliga goal for Bayer Leverkusen and at the age of just 18 years and 307 days the youngest player to reach 50 appearances in the German top flight.
Indeed, Havertz is considered German football’s best youth product in a number of years. His price tag would reflect this, with Bayer Leverkusen believed to want around £100 million for their prize asset. If Man Utd don’t pay that someone else will. The price of missing out on a player who would provide a solution to many of their problems would be greater.