Sebastien Haller has completed his move to Ajax, bringing an end to his horror spell at West Ham United.
This means that West Ham are selling for less than half the fee they bought him from Eintracht Frankfurt for only a season-and-a-half ago.
The Ivory Coast international ends his stay in England with 54 appearances in all competitions. 48 came in the Premier League, 30 of which were starts. He scored a total of 14 goals (10 in the league).
Coming in with high expectations, his time at West Ham will not be remembered fondly by most. However, many fans were quick to acknowledge that he is a talented player that could have been used better.
Haller was brilliant in a 442 with Antonio, when he had support.
Stop abusing Haller and just accept he is a class ST but we were just the wrong team for him.
— West Ham Transfers (@westhamtransfer) January 7, 2021
Haller never managed to nail down a regular starting spot at the London Stadium.
His chances of doing so were hampered when the manager that signed him, Manuel Pellegrini, was sacked in December 2019. His replacement, David Moyes, has preferred to use Michail Antonio up top, to good effect it must be said.
There was always the feeling that the Hammers were not playing to Haller’s strengths when he was on the pitch. Moyes failed to get the very best from the club’s record signing.
However, the team were getting some good results without him. It really was just a case of the wrong player at the wrong club at the wrong time.
A transfer to a European super club playing in a smaller league seems perfect for a player looking to get back on his feet.
A chance at retribution for talented Haller
Haller returns to a league where he spent two-and-a-half successful seasons from 2015-2017. He scored 45 goals and got 15 assists in the Eredivisie for Utrecht after joining from Auxerre, originally on loan.
His manager at the time was current Ajax boss Erik ten Hag.
Still only 26, Haller has the chance to re-establish himself as one of Europe’s top forwards. It was only two years ago that he was tearing things up in the Bundesliga for Eintracht Frankfurt.
Playing in an attacking 3-5-2 system, Haller scored 15 goals and got nine assists in 29 league games in 2018/19. He formed a lethal partnership with Luka Jovic, who is now at Real Madrid.
Ajax are an intelligent club who make great signings more often than not. Look at Dusan Tadic, who was a decent Premier League player before they made him into a goal-machine in Holland.
If anyone will be able to get a tune from the French-born forward, it should be them.
— Sébastien Haller (@HallerSeb) May 12, 2016
Ajax’s possession-based style will suit him a lot more than West Ham’s counter-attacking system.
Rather than the West Ham defence hoofing balls for him to hold up, his team will have more possession in and around the penalty area. Here, he will be able to finish chances and link up with his teammates to better effect.
The likes of Tadic, David Neres, Antony, Quincy Promes and Mohammed Kudus will thrive off the quality of chances that Haller can create.
He has improved since his last spell in Holland, so fans should expect an upgrade on his impressive 2.8 shots per game, which he averaged during his first spell.
A return to his average 1.4 key passes, which he managed during his last seasons in both Holland and Germany, would also be fantastic for four-time European Champions.
If all goes to plan, we might even see Sebastien Haller back in England someday.