Kai Havertz: Reported Liverpool and Manchester United target could feature for Germany against Argentina
Watch Germany vs Argentina from 7.40pm live on Sky Sports Football; kick-off 7.45pm
Last Updated: 09/10/19 6:48pm
Reported Manchester United and Liverpool target Kai Havertz could feature for Germany when they play Argentina in an international friendly on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports. We profile the talented 20-year-old and look at other talking points ahead of the game...
The German wonderkid
Havertz is contracted to Bayer Leverkusen until 2022, although recent reports from the Daily Mirror say the Bundesliga club are ready to cash in and have quoted Liverpool and Manchester United an eye-watering £90m for their midfielder.
Indeed, Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes told Sport1: "It's clear that we're talking about Europe's biggest clubs. If he leaves, it won't be a small deal. We'll see what happens."
Havertz joined the Leverkusen academy aged 11 and made his first-team debut in October 2016, becoming the club's youngest Bundesliga debutant at 17 years and 126 days old.
He quickly established himself as a regular in the first team and continued to break records. He became Leverkusen's youngest goalscorer in the Bundesliga on April 2, 2017 when he scored in a 3-3 draw against Wolfsburg.
A year later, Havertz became the youngest player to reach 50 Bundesliga appearances at 18 years and 307 days old, breaking the record previously held by Timo Werner. In the 2018/19 season, he scored 17 goals - the most by a teenager in a single league season - and lost out on the German Football of the Year award to Marco Reus by the smallest of margins.
He already has two goals in four Leverkusen appearances this season in all competitions and has won five caps for Germany, which could well be added to against Argentina on Wednesday evening, live on Sky Sports.
But what kind of player is Havertz? He has been likened to fellow Germans Mesut Ozil, Michael Ballack and Toni Kroos and is known in Germany as an 'alleskonner' - someone who can do everything. He is comfortable on both feet, is technically astute and can also compete in the air. He also has versatility at his disposal, able to shine in those forward roles or sit deeper, where he remains composed and assured.
Manchester United are crying out for a player who can do it all in midfield, Liverpool less so, but they would give Havertz more opportunities at the highest levels. The 20-year-old talent is open to a move too, recently telling Sportsbuzzer: "I am happy to stay at Leverkusen for one more year. What happens next summer will be experienced in the future."
For now, Premier League fans will have to admire him from afar as he continues to light up German football.
Argentina's rising star
Also keep an eye out for fellow 20-year-old Leonardo Balerdi. The Argentina centre-back will be right at home at Signal Iduna Park - where Wednesday's game is being played - having signed for Borussia Dortmund in January from Boca Juniors.
However, despite being in line for his second Argentina cap - having won his first in September - he is yet to make his debut for Dortmund's first team.
The promising defender has made seven appearances for Dortmund's reserve side and has been included in the club's first-team squad three times, but his first competitive step onto the Signal Iduna Park could be with Argentina.
Many are tipping Balerdi for big things, with the youngster citing Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique as his idols, and Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has said: "Leonardo is an intelligent centre-back and strong in defence. He also has a good build-up and passing game. We are very glad that he has chosen us and are convinced that he will help us with his talent in the future."
Fans at Signal Iduna Park hoping to catch a glimpse of Lionel Messi will be disappointed - he has not been selected in the latest Argentina squad.
But fear not, this does not mean the end of his international career. Again. Messi has, in fact, been suspended from international football for three months by CONMEBOL after he claimed the Copa America had been "fixed for Brazil" and fined $50,000 (£41,121). He will miss Wednesday's friendly and a game against Ecuador on Sunday.
The Barcelona forward has also missed much of the season so far with injury, playing in just three La Liga games and only one full match, against Sevilla on Sunday. Of course, being Messi, he already has one goal and assist in those three games.
His sights will be set further forward for his country. Argentina will co-host the Copa America next year with Colombia to give Messi another shot at winning a major trophy for his country before he calls time on his international career once and for all.
Bayern vs Germany
There has been a bit of a ding-dong going on between one of Germany's biggest clubs, Bayern Munich, and the national team this year.
It began in March, when Bayern stars Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels were not selected as Joachim Low continues to rebuild his squad after a disappointing 2018 at the World Cup and the Nations League.
At the time, the manager said: "It's a new start for the German national team and we want to freshen the squad up. I want to thank Hummels, Boateng and Muller for their many successes and extraordinary years. For me, it was important to explain my thinking and plans to them personally. I'm convinced that it's the right decision."
Bayern were not happy. They hit back saying: "We believe the timing and circumstances of the announcement of this decision to the players and to the public is questionable. The last international match of the German national team took place on November 19, 2018.
"The fact that the players and the public were informed three months later, just ahead of important matches for Bayern... irritates us."
The argument has rumbled on into October, where attentions have turned to the goalkeepers. Onlookers are scratching their heads as to why Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has not been given the regular starting spot over Germany captain Manuel Neuer, who has seen a decline in form since a serious injury.
Barcelona stopper Ter Stegen has also publicly voiced his frustrations at playing second fiddle on the international stage, telling T-Online: "Obviously, it drives me a bit mad. You give the best of yourself and you aren't where you want to be."
But Bayern have also made their own threats, saying they will not send players to the national team if Neuer is usurped, with club president Uli Hoeness telling Low: "You put Mr Ter Stegen in the corner and tell him clearly that it doesn't work like that."
It puts the Germany manager in a tough spot. For the upcoming games, Low has said the pair will take a game each - with Ter Stegen set to play against Argentina - but for now, Neuer appears to be the first choice for competitive fixtures.
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