Sebastien Haller: Is he the answer to West Ham's striker problem?
When was the last time West Ham had a striker who can score 20+ goals? Andy Carrol never did it, nor did Carlton Cole. Marko Arnautović had the potential, but he left for China. The last striker to reach the 20-goal mark for West Ham was Teddy Sheringham back in 2004/05 but he achieved this feat in the Championship, not in the Premier League.
To survive in the Premier League, you need a top-class manager and some quality players. West Ham has done the first step in hiring Manuel Pellegrini and signing a player of Felipe Anderson's calibre. Still, one piece was missing in the puzzle. A world-class striker! This time around West Ham has splashed a club-record fee of £45 million to bring Sebastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt.
Sebastien Haller has all the makings of a perfect striker. He is physically imposing and has the poacher's eye for goal. Apart from scoring goals, he has that eye for the killer pass that can unlock defences. His Bundesliga stats for 2018/19 speaks in support for these. He scored 15 goals and provided nine assists in the Bundesliga.
A striker with the capabilities of Haller is a blessing for the midfielders and wingers. Haller is quick, skilful and has the physique to cause trouble with his head. The Frenchman is a proper target man and poacher and has the acrobatic skills that a striker needs. He scored some beautiful volleys last season. Those video highlights have certainly excited the West Ham fans.
Haller's Premier League debut debut was not one to remember. A humbling of 5-0 at the hands of the reigning champions. In the second game, Haller just introduced himself to the Premier League. He was off the mark for the season with his brace against Watford.
For the first goal, he was in the right place at the right time, which is something you would expect from a proper number nine. The second one was an acrobatic volley. What a perfect way to announce himself!
Haller's other aspects of the game are great as well. He won seven aerial duels which prove his strength in the air. He exhibited an appreciable 70% pass success rate and 80% shooting accuracy.
Haller boasted a goal involvement every 90.9 minutes while creating 1.6 chances per 90. He excels in a two-striker formation as he did last season with Luka Jovic even though he has the capability of leading the line on his own. If he needs a strike partner to unleash himself, West Ham does have the likes of Chicharito or Andriy Yarmolenko who can step up.
If he can keep up his scoring form of last season, he can take West Ham to new heights. Will Pellegrini build a team around the Frenchman? If so, West Ham can aim for nothing less than a Europa League spot.