Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta is making criticism of Kai Havertz’s big-money switch from Chelsea look extremely premature.

The German, who has been used as a forward in recent weeks, is beginning to blossom in north London having initially struggled after his £65million move from the Blues.

Havertz was signed predominantly to play in a three-man midfield alongside fellow summer signing Declan Rice and captain Martin Odegaard. His long-term future may still be in that role, but there is evidence that he could still be an option as a striker.

The 24-year-old has scored in each of his last two Premier League appearances, and provided an assist during the 4-1 win over Newcastle. Havertz’s tally for the campaign now stands at seven goals and two assists.

His link-up play has seen a marked improvement in the way Arsenal attack, with the Gunners scoring 15 goals in their last three Premier League games. Closing in on double figures for goals at the end of the season, Havertz has silenced those who criticised the money Arsenal were paying for him last summer.

Former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane said earlier this season that Havertz lacked the personality and consistency to play as a No. 9. “He has done it on one or two big occasions, but I don’t think he has been that consistent,” Keane said.

“I think it is a good buy for Arsenal, every signing is obviously a bit of a gamble, they paid big money for him, and he certainly has the talent.

“The only thing I would question is has he got that big personality? You are on about leading from the front, I don’t think he is that out-and-out striker. We will soon find out over the next few years at Arsenal but he’s certainly a talented boy.”

Chelsea icon Frank Leboeuf went further by brutally insisting that Havertz’s best position was on the substitutes’ bench. When debate surrounding where Havertz was most comfortable playing, the former defender said: “Maybe right now on the bench because he doesn’t disturb the others.

“We talked about it in pre-season when we knew he signed. His positioning is going to affect the rest of the midfielders, they are unbalanced because of him and Odegaard playing in almost the same line.

“What made Arsenal strong last season, Odegaard was on his own trying to create the game and the others were working for him. Maybe playing on the left but when you have Trossard and Martinelli I don’t see any room for him. I think from Arteta it was a mistake to hire Havertz, I don’t find any good position for him.”

According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal will manage Gabriel Jesus’s minutes in the final months of the campaign to avoid a flare-up of the Brazilian’s persistent knee injury. That means Havertz could be vital for Arteta in the final 12 games of the season, with Arsenal in a title race with Liverpool and Manchester City.