Haller: Is it me you’re looking for?
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 30 October 2020 at 5:11pm
Written by: Neil Shaw-Smith
Fans were dancing on the ceiling in August 2019 when Sebastian Haller, the £45m record signing was shown off. West Ham had cunningly snagged the guy who’s season ratio of a goal every two games made him hot property.
Once. Twice. Three times he scored in his first month of Premier League games that had some fans speculating that he could easily score more than 20 that season and Pellegrini was a genius.
But the departure of unspicy Chile manager put the endless love on hold and the wheels came off faster than an F1 pit crew. It seemed Haller could try all night long and still not put the ball in the net.
So in this season against Manchester City, when the only other registered striker Antonio pulls up and goes off, David Moyes turns to…..Yarmalenko, a real kick in the teeth for the Frenchman that a midfielder was chosen over him.
The injury to Antonio, (who seems to have more experience with hamstring disasters than a butcher’s apprentice) means that it looks like the lanky Frenchman will get his chance at a run in the side.
You don’t become a bad striker overnight and technically Haller is very good. Let’s face it, he’s not been the £45m goal-machine it was hoped he would be. The defiant look when he scored against Hull seemed to say ‘See? That’s what happens when I play!’, but too often comes across more as a moody moaner constantly having appeals for fouls ignored when bullied off of the ball.
At the very least, Antonio has set an example and the earnest quality required to win fans is hard graft and chasing lost causes, but this doesn’t seem to fit into the Sebastian’s mindset.
However, things are changing. A spearhead with trickery and pace of new signing Benrahma along with Bowen either side, there’s a case that they would just need a Haller-sized lynchpin to connect the dots with his back to goal. As well as a threat from crosses with the quality of service into the box getting better and better each game.
It’s not like West Ham are now short of workhorses – Fornals, Soucek and Rice have the grit and endeavour – maybe a striker with clever flair and anticipation is what West Ham need.
Haller COULD be a great player. His languid style doesn’t mean he is a bad player, some of the greats don’t run around all the time and conserve energy, it’s clear to see that the unsettled system when Moyes took over caused more confusion with him than fluidity. The preseason understanding with Diagana showed glimpses that the quality was still there.
Now with a settled team and system, and more solid defence and against opposition in the lower end of division and spirits high, the scene is set perfectly to come into the first team
If you’re looking for a striker who has a clever head and can bring others into play and generate moments of magic, that is in his locker. If you need a forward to step up and prove those critics wrong who have written him off as overpriced and overrated. If you need him, just Haller.