Emmanuel Petit has urged Mikel Arteta to drop Kai Havertz to bring the best out of his struggling £65million signing. The German playmaker is set for his first taste of North London derby action on Sunday but former Arsenal midfielder Petit believes Havertz needs time out of the side in order to find his bearings with the Gunners.
Speaking via Betway, Petit said: “You can see Havertz is still not playing with confidence. He’s been struggling ever since he arrived in England – let alone at Arsenal.
“If I was Arteta, I would consider putting him on the bench and giving him a proper rest.
“It’s not a form of punishment but he needs to grasp and understand the tactical side of their game as at the moment there is no connection with his new team-mates.
“He looked totally lost against Manchester United – if he plays for 20 or 25 minutes like he did against Everton he can learn to understand how Arsenal play.”
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Question marks remain about where the 24-year-old fits into Arsenal’s side despite an encouraging and much-improved display in the 4-0 Champions League triumph over PSV Eindhoven.
Somewhat alarmingly, Petit also noticed that Havertz’s struggles were replicated at international level during Germany’s recent 2-1 victory over France.
The World Cup winner added: “Even when he came on against France, I had the feeling that I don’t know what his real position is.
“It’s the same for both Germany and Arsenal which is a concern. We need to be patient as he’s under a lot of pressure and there’s been so much bad criticism but it’s clear he is not at the top of his game.”
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Arteta recently launched a personal defence of his summer signing – comparing Havertz’s difficult transition to life at Arsenal to his marriage.
The Spaniard said following the 3-1 triumph over Manchester United: “I said to him yesterday: ‘When I met my wife, at the beginning it was hard to conquer her'”.
“I had to try and message, and go and go, and at the end when she said, ‘Yes, we will be together’, it’s beautiful. If she had said ‘yes’ on the first day, it’s not that great.”
He later reiterated that the key to his romance with Argentine-Spanish actress Lorena Bernal was being: “persistent and determined”.
Arteta was impressed by Havertz’s contribution against PSV, stating post-match: “He was very connected today in the game.
“It’s true that I ask him to play in two different roles in regard to the opponent’s behaviours. He’s so intelligent the way he does it.
“It’s just finishing one or two actions that we had again, but it’s coming and he’s so willing to do it.”
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