The youngster has been one of the Bundesliga’s most eye-catching performers this season, but he must pick his next move carefully
Having enjoyed a stellar season in which he has scored six times and set up five more for the Bundesliga side, the 20-year-old has been hotly linked with a summer switch to Liverpool.
Nowotny, who spent 10 years at Leverkusen, during which time he won 48 Germany caps and was a member of the national team that finished third at the 2006 World Cup, has sung the praises of the 20-year-old and has counselled him to be careful with his next step.
“He is on the way to becoming a world-class player. He has huge potential,” he told Goal and Spox.
“Another year in Leverkusen would certainly not hurt him. For his personal development as a player and as a person it would be good for him to be in an environment in which he feels comfortable – and that’s the case in Leverkusen. Otherwise he would not have already spent 10 years at the club.
“To fulfil his potential, the next step is very, very important. He has to ask himself questions: are there clubs where he can develop if there is a possible change? Or are there only clubs where he has to arrive and function as a finished player?
“On the one hand, you need coaches like Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho, who can take him further. On the other hand, such a coach also has to work for a club where he is allowed to develop.”
Nowotny cast doubt as to whether a switch to Bayern Munich would be the wisest move given that he would have to fight hard to break into the starting XI.
“He could develop at Bayern Munich, but he would have to win his chance to play first and foremost,” he added. “That works better for some clubs than for others. For a young player, Borussia Dortmund may be better than Bayern Munich in terms of club and environment.”
Meanwhile, the former defender is confident that Havertz’s star will not fade like that of Mario Gotze, who failed to realise his potential, despite netting the decisive goal in the 2014 World Cup final.
“The hype that has arisen around Kai brushes off him,” he said. “His character and environment are not so receptive to praise.”
Havertz is expected to return to action after a two-month layoff due to the coronavirus pandemic when Leverkusen tackle Werder Bremen on Monday.