West Ham have broken their transfer record for the third consecutive season and have managed to land Sebastien Haller to London. The 25-year-old arriving from Eintracht Frankfurt will be replacing Marko Arnautovic up front who has been let go by Pellegrini.
Luka Jovic may have attracted all the attention at Eintracht Frankfurt last season, scoring goals left, right and centre. This eventually earned him his big-money move to Real Madrid. But it was Sebastien Haller, Jovic’s partner in the attack that made Frankfurt tick in the final third and orchestrated play for Jovic and Rebic to feed off of.
Haller was phenomenal with the Frankfurt based club last season. He scored 20 goals and made 12 assists in just 39 games. He was one of the best players in the Bundesliga last season and contributed to 40 percent of Frankfurt’s goals. He formed a wonderful strike partnership with Jovic and of the 17 goals the young Serbian scored last season, 14 came in 15 matches alongside Sebastien Haller. This just goes to show that Haller possesses an immense link-up play and passing range which should bring more fluidity in the final third for West Ham.
Apparently, Haller wasn’t the first choice target for West Ham. The club was interested in bringing Uruguayan forward Maxi Gomez to the club but after a transfer saga that went on forever with Gomez ultimately choosing Valencia, Haller could turn out to be an even better payoff.
So what is it that makes Sebastien Haller this good?
At 6 feet 3 inches, Haller is blessed with great physicality which comes in handy when holding on to the ball and avoiding defenders. He resembles a typical old-school centre-forward, a target man to lead the front line but it doesn’t take long to figure out just how great he is with his feet.
Possessing a precise eye for goal, power to avoid defenders and hold the ball and strong associative play, Haller qualifies as a complete forward and could be the missing piece to Pellegrini’s puzzle. He also has a smart positional sense and has a tendency to be at the right places at the right time to capitalise.
Capable of using both feet well, Haller is ambipedal and his large frame and style of play have earned him comparisons to another French legend, David Trezeguet. Haller won 8.3 duels in the air per 90 minutes in the league last season, the highest in the Bundesliga and with a success rate of 59%.
Haller is also clinical with his shooting. Last season, he averaged 2.2 shots per 90 (Jovic for comparison had 3.9 shots per 90). This indicates that Haller isn’t wasteful and does not take pot shots. He is instead comfortable linking up play and breaking down the opposition in the box and shooting from positions that have a better chance of ending up in goal.
In terms of desire and attitude, Haller is a massive upgrade over Arnautovic. Haller made the most tackles last season for a striker in the Bundesliga and his work ethic is as good as his technical abilities. This will endear him to the Hammers faithful.
Author’s take– Sebastien Haller is a signing that shows intent from West Ham for European qualification. Manuel Pellegrini has done a wonderful job with the Hammers and Haller was the missing link they needed to bolster their system upfront. Haller will form an excellent partnership with Manuel Lanzini, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko. West Ham also acquired Pablo Fornals from Villarreal to add more creativity to the midfield and so far, their business and acquisition have been great.