SINCE exploding onto the scene in 2016, Kai Havertz has been talked about as Germany’s most promising talent.
The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, who stands at a sturdy 6ft 2in tall, is said to be in “constant communication” with Manchester United ahead of summer transfer window move.
Havertz, himself, has revealed he expects to leave Leverkusen to progress his career – not ruling out a move abroad.
“I often wonder about all the things people allegedly know about me.
“I am ready to make a big step and I like challenges. That includes abroad.
“Leverkusen are a great club, I feel good – I have always said that.
“But of course I want to take the next step in my career at some point. That’s my ambition.”
With a range of skills that have embarrassed defenders through the years, now backed up with an abundance of goals, Havertz is the real deal.
In his last campaign, £90m-rated Havertz managed to score 17 goals in the German league – the most ever by a teenager in a single Bundesliga season.
Still only 20, pundits say he’s a hybrid of Mesut Ozil, Michael Ballack and Toni Kroos. Here’s why.
Born in Aachen to a policeman father and a mother who is a lawyer, the Havertz has football in his blood.
His dad and granddad both played at amateur level, and the young boy would join them for a kickabout on a football pitch that sat just 100m from their home.
By the tender age of four, Havertz turned out for his local team, Alemannia Mariadorf, where his other grandfather was president.
Already he was playing with boys much older than him because of an extraordinary ability.
At the age of nine he starred in the Geißbock-Cup in Cologne, where Bundesliga scouts marked down his name as one for the future. And they weren’t wrong.
Cologne and Borussia Mönchengladbach were just two of those clubs, but it was Bayer Leverkusen who made their move first.
At just 11, Havertz joined their impressive youth set-up spearheaded by then youth coordinator Jürgen Gelsdorf.
He trained at Kurtekotten, a youth-training centre regarded as one of the best in Germany in the early 2000s.
Before soon, he had earned the nickname “Alleskönner” which translates as Jack of all trades.
By 15, Havertz was promoted into Leverkusen’s Under-17 team, helping them win a national youth title and ending a 25-year drought.
A star was about to be born.
On October 15, 2016 history was made.
A fresher-faced Havertz strolled onto the pitch as a sub in a 2-1 loss to Werder Bremen.
Aged 17 years and 126 days, he became Leverkusen’s youngest ever debutant.
Four months later, he recorded his first assist for teammate Karim Bellarabi, in what was the 50,000 goal scored in the Bundesliga.
And he wasn’t done with breaking records either.
His progression continued, and in 2018 he became the youngest player to reach 50 appearances in the history of the Bundesliga.
Last season Havertz announced himself on the world stage.
He enjoyed his best campaign in the game – scoring 17 goals in the Bundesliga, 20 across all competitions.
Only two players finished with more goals than Havertz in the league (Lewandowski with 22, Paco Alcacer, 18), and he recorded three assists too.
Havertz also managed an impressive 2.6 shots per game, while recording an impressive passing accuracy of 87.2%.
And it’s not just the Premier League that’s taken note. Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG and Borussia Dortmund have been watching this boy closely too.
“In terms of his talent, there’s no limit,” his teammate German international Jonathan Tah told Bundesliga.com.
“I think if he keeps working hard and doesn’t rest on his laurels, he can make it to the very top.”
AWAY FROM THE GAME
When he’s not immersing himself in the ‘Beautiful Game’, Havertz loves music.
A skilled pianist, he often sits at home after a tough 90 minutes playing classical and modern hits.
He also has a long-time girlfriend, Sophia who he regularly gushes about on social media.
And he’s completely modest about his success.
He told Bundesliga.com: “I’ve always been brought up to keep my feet on the ground. I learned from my parents that arrogance and snootiness are not desirable qualities.
“Why should a footballer be any different to anybody else? We’re normal guys, just like most people.
“Besides, I haven’t achieved anything yet. Football is about winning titles, and I haven’t done that since turning pro.”
Should a big move materialise, he might just win that elusive title.