While Bayer Leverkusen’s assistant manager Marcel Daum admitted his club might have to cash in on the prodigiously talented Kai Havertz this summer, he did little to dampen the enthusiasm around the Germany international.
Havertz has been the star of the Bundesliga since its return in mid-May and the COVID-19 crisis that has damaged the economy around football will almost certainly lead to him leaving Leverkusen this summer.
But his current club won’t be letting him go cheaply, and Daum sees greatness as a given for the 20-year-old who has already made 114 Bundesliga appearances.
“For me, he has the elegance of Zidane,” Daum said this week. “If you see his movement, he’s very elegant, he’s always calm, he has great passing ability.
“What a lot of people don’t see, because we watch him every day, is that he’s pretty fast. That’s a big bonus.
“He’s a great player; he’s scoring goals, he’s great in the air and he’s pretty fast. It’s up to him how far he can go.
“I can’t say he will be the best German player ever, but he has the talent and there are no limits. He’s displaying signs of Zidane.”
It’s not exactly a subtle sales pitch. Havertz’s star has risen since the restart as he displayed more strings to his bow, leading a thrilling but often flawed Bayer Leverkusen team.
Since the campaign got back underway the man who wears No. 10 has been leading the line for his club, and doing it with some aplomb. Five goals in four games had taken his tally to seven in seven when playing as a centre forward this season, added to five in 10, with five assists, from the right-wing, and three goals and two assists in 21 appearances as an attacking midfielder.
In a transfer market that’s going to be severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with clubs coming to terms with depleted revenues, versatility is a suit to be admired and Havertz is showing he has it in abundance.
So it should come as little surprise that he’s been linked with Manchester United this summer, even if his fellow Bundesliga starlet Jadon Sancho remains the club’s top priority.
The extension of Odion Ighalo’s loan until the end of January 2021 has also reduced the need to strengthen in attack this summer, but Havertz ticks a lot of boxes.
Not only is he the ideal age profile for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s fresh, dynamic squad, but he is quick and capable of playing on the break, as well as being a world-class performer out wide, behind a striker or leading the line. He could cover several attacking positions in United’s squad.
Havertz has captained Bayer Leverkusen eight times since February, an impressive level of responsibility for a player who will turn 21 next week.
It’s long been expected that he would end up at Bayern Munich, as so many of Germany’s best young players do, but there has to be a temptation to move to a more competitive league if the opportunity arises and Havertz’s form and adaptability will surely make him a man in demand when the next transfer window does open.
That versatility could be ideal for Solskjaer’s squad, offering cover at centre forward, out wide and as an attacking midfield, as well as giving greater flexibility in terms of formations. Signing two of the Bundesliga’s best young players might be a challenge this summer, but it would be brilliant business too.