REVEALED: Arsenal will play Kai Havertz as a No 8 in a new-look midfield trio with Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard as Mikel Arteta reverts to the £65m star’s old position after his Chelsea striker role
Arsenal are set to place Kai Havertz on the left-hand side of an exciting, new-look midfield three next season.
The Gunners fell short to Manchester City in last season’s Premier League title race.
And the north London side have already shown their ambition to improve in the transfer market, sealing the £65million signing of German international Havertz from Chelsea on Thursday.
They are also poised to complete a massive £105m move for West Ham captain and England midfield star Declan Rice after agreeing a fee with the Hammers and personal terms just a formality.
Manager Mikel Arteta will line them up alongside captain Martin Odegaard in midfield in a mouthwatering triumvirate.
Arsenal are set to place new signing Kai Havertz, 24, on the left-hand side of a midfield three
He is expected to play alongside £105m signing Declan Rice (left) and Martin Odegaard (right)
Vice-captain Granit Xhaka is expected to leave, with several Bundesliga clubs interested and Arsenal willing to sell him so they avoid losing him for free next summer.
Fabio Vieira would still physically struggle in the cut and thrust of a top-flight engine room and can expect to be used further forward, perhaps alongside Emile Smith Rowe, who is returning to full fitness after an injury-disrupted season.
Jorginho is a valuable squad player but will be behind Rice in the pecking order in the deepest of the three midfield positions, while Albert Sambi Lokonga is out of favour and will probably be loaned or sold again and Mo Elneny is backup only.
Ghanaian Thomas Partey, 30, is another expected to leave, with personal terms agreed with Juventus over a £17m move and interest from Saudi Arabia as well.
Versatile attacker Havertz, 24, is perhaps best as a No 10 but largely played as a central striker for Chelsea.
Boss Mikel Arteta views Havertz – not Rice – as a replacement for Granit Xhaka, who’s set to exit
Despite this, Arteta sees him – not more natural midfielder Declan Rice – as the right replacement for Xhaka.
The Spaniard believes the gifted ball carrier will thrive in the club’s dynamic and fluid possession-based style, making late runs into the penalty area to get goals and assists and leaving space behind him for left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko to fill.
Arteta is thought to think Havertz’s new role as a No 8 will suit his preferred 3-2-5 attacking shape, which is reminiscent of how he was at times used during his blistering spell at Bayer Leverkusen.