Kai Havertz on Chelsea fans' anger and winning over Arsenal supporters

  • Kai Havertz joined Arsenal following a mixed time at Stamford Bridge
  • Following Gabriel Jesus' injury, the 24-year-old's form flourished
  • Manager Mikel Arteta believes 'it's impossible' not to love the player
Havertz proved the doubters wrong this season
Havertz proved the doubters wrong this season / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Kai Havertz has taken the time to reflect on his debut season with Arsenal, expressing his delight at winning over the club's fans following his divisive transfer from Chelsea.

Supporters had questions aplenty last summer when the Gunners completed a £65m move for Havertz, who had struggled to live up to expectations in three seasons at Stamford Bridge.

Arteta's original strategy involved deploying Havertz as an attacking midfielder, aiming to fill the role previously held by Granit Xhaka. However, the German faced challenges adapting to this position, and after Gabriel Jesus suffered an injury and Eddie Nketiah experienced a loss of form, Havertz was redeployed as a centre-forward, where he eventually found his stride.

"I'm a person who needs time when I get into a new environment," the 24-year-old told Welt Am Sonntag. "I'm shy at first, a bit reserved, and not someone who comes out of my shell straight away.

"I always need a bit of time at the beginning and have to warm up to people - that was also the case after my move from [Bayer] Leverkusen to Chelsea. Once that happens, everything falls into place."

Kai Havertz and Jarrad Branthwaite
Havertz was the Gunners' second highest scorer in 2023/24 / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Havertz scored 13 goals and assisted seven in the Premier League 2023/24 season as Arsenal ran Manchester City close to the title for the second year running.

For the role the German played for the Gunners in this campaign, manager Arteta stated "it is impossible not to love him".

"A sentence like that means a lot to me - and I think he said it at the start of the season, at a time when things weren't going so well after my move from Chelsea to Arsenal," Havertz said.

"That helped me a lot because it was something that happened off the pitch. I think a lot of things in football aren't just decided on the pitch by the game, but also by how you treat each other and live by basic human values.

"It wasn't easy at Arsenal either at the beginning. The Chelsea fans were angry that I left, and the Arsenal fans weren't that enthusiastic either because things didn't go so well at the beginning. Then you get strength when the coach, your teammates and the people close to you stand by you and support you."

Havertz added: "Trust is a big word - I'm cautious about that, I don't find it easy to trust people. I feel like I have one friend outside of football, but otherwise there aren't many people I let close to me. But I can distinguish quite well between the people who are serious about me and those who only want something from me when things are going well."