Graeme Souness questions Arsenal’s Kai Havertz deal and delivers verdict on Ivan Toney interest | Football

Kai Havertz completed a £65m switch from Chelsea to Arsenal last summer (Picture: Getty)

Former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness has taken aim at Arsenal for splashing the cash on Kai Havertz when they already had a homegrown player of Emile Smith Rowe’s quality at their disposal.

The Gunners spent in excess of £200million on new recruits last summer, with Mikel Arteta determined to strengthen his squad after seeing his side’s Premier League title charge fade in the back-end of the 2022/23 campaign.

Jurrien Timber, Declan Rice and Havertz all signed on the dotted line in north London and the latter’s arrival from rivals Chelsea raised eyebrows amongst a section of Arsenal fanbase given the club were seemingly well stocked in attacking midfield.

Despite persistent fitness problems, Smith Rowe had been tipped as the future of the club alongside fellow academy graduate Bukayo Saka, but the young England international has only made one start in the Premier League this season.

Meanwhile, Havertz has shown flashes of brilliance, though is yet to deliver on a consistent basis for Arsenal, managing five goals in all competitions at the halfway stage of his debut season.

Discussing Arsenal’s transfer dealings on talkSPORT, Souness explained how he was left baffled by Havertz’s move considering Arteta appeared in greater need of a genuine centre-forward last summer.

‘I like Smith Rowe. As a midfield player running into the box, clever passes, everything seems to be done when he is sprinting which I like. Goal threat,’ Souness said.

Emile Smith Rowe looks on from the Arsenal bench

Smith Rowe has struggled for regular minutes at Arsenal this season (Picture: Getty)

‘Then you go spend £60m, Arteta. So the point I want to make is that £60m, I think is a fair criticism, you’ve spent…

‘You know what I am on about, building a football team, you try to strengthen the weakest part of your team.

‘I think for most people, Arsenal needed another striker with [Gabriel] Jesus.

‘You go and take Kai Havertz from Chelsea for big money when really you’ve got a homegrown player that is every bit as good as him so that £60m should have been maybe directed towards a striker and that might cost them, a different kind of striker.’

Brentford and England striker Toney is on Arsenal’s radar (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal are believed to be in the market for a striker this January and Brentford’s Ivan Toney has been heavily linked as he closes in on a return to action following his ban for gambling offences.

Souness feels Toney could be an excellent addition given he has already proved himself as a goalscorer in the Premier League.

‘We were talking about Toney… when you are buying a player, you are trying to eliminate the problem,’ the outspoken ex-Scotland international added.

‘Why would he not be successful here [at Arsenal].

‘So if he is a foreigner, will he deal with a different culture, will his family deal with that, will he pick up the language quick enough, will be able to deal with the intensity of the English game?

‘So you try and take out one of them.’


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