LONDON: Mikel Arteta (pix) is working to boost Kai Havertz’s confidence after the forward’s underwhelming start to his Arsenal career.
The Germany international joined the Gunners from Chelsea for £65 million ($80 million) in June but he has yet to register a goal or even an assist for his new club.
He has been on the substitutes’ bench for the past two Premier League matches, against Everton and Tottenham.
Arteta, whose team are fifth in the Premier League after an unbeaten start to the season, on Friday said Arsenal are trying to help the 24-year-old “as much as possible”.
“Be next to him, give him the tools, give him the confidence and give him the minutes to exploit his talent,“ the Arsenal manager said on the eve of his side’s trip to struggling Bournemouth.
“There are so many parts of his game that he’s doing exceptionally well and we know the one that needs to keep improving.
“But as always, with any player, it’s about giving support — especially when you see a player that does what he does every single day and the way he tries, the way he applies himself.
“You give them support and more tools and if they don’t perform, it’s because of us.”
Arteta said Havertz, who scored the winning goal for Chelsea in the 2021 Champions League final, needed time to gel with the team.
“The amount of time that he’s played with these forward players is three or four times, and we’re going to have to carry on doing that,“ he said.
“We certainly try to give him as much support and confidence as we possibly can because that’s going to help him for sure.”
Arteta is facing an injury headache ahead of Saturday’s match.
England pair Bukayo Saka and Declan Rice picked up injuries in the north London derby draw with Tottenham last week and since then both William Saliba and Fabio Vieira have suffered setbacks.
Forwards Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard missed the derby and Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey have been sidelined for a number of weeks.
“Are they fit enough? Have they done enough to be able to be selected tomorrow and that’s the question mark,“ said Arteta.
“We need them, so hopefully today we get some good news.” –AFP