Strong, Graceful, & Exquisite First Touch; West Ham's New Hero, Sebastien Haller

The French forward was once destined for Bayern Munich
09:06, 19 Oct 2019

Marko Arnautovic was a key player for West Ham who they absolutely did not want to lose.

However, just four months on from his mega money move to China and the big Austrian is a mere memory; for the Hammers fanbase have a new forward to idolise.

Sebastien Haller arrived in east London as the club’s new record signing this summer and has hit the ground running.

With four goals in seven Premier League matches, he’s taken to the English game beautifully. Strong but graceful, the towering striker is the new West Ham talisman.

So good and still so full of potential at 25, Fredi Bobic, sporting director at his former club Eintracht Frankfurt figured he was destined for Bayern Munich.

“I always thought that they would call us at some point about Sebastien Haller as a back-up for Lewandowski,” he told German media outlet Sport Bild.

On early viewing, he certainly has the attributes and goal nous to play in the Champions League. However, it was the Hammers who were bold enough to make a concrete move and they are reaping the rewards of his excellent early season form.

The Frenchman began his career with Auxerre in his homeland but made his name with FC Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Scoring more than a goal every two games, his 6 ft 3 frame means it is impossible to miss him.

Frankfurt took him to Germany in 2017 and he continued his scoring exploits, doing the business in the Bundesliga alongside the likes of Paco Alcacer, Kai Havertz and team-mate Luka Jovic.

At West Ham, not only is he finding the back of the net, but he’s getting the best out of those around him.

While Arnautovic’s displays felt like a one-man show, playing as the ultimate talisman, going alone and racing forward, he scored many important goals.

Now with Haller, not only is he proving lethal in front of goal, but his first touch is exquisite, especially ‘for a big man’ and he’s bringing in his team-mates and greatly improving West Ham’s frontline.

Felipe Anderson, Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko all look far more dangerous and potent, buzzing around the targetman.

Speaking to West Ham’s official website last month, team-mate Issa Diop said: “Good players are horrible to mark. But it’s good because you can improve when you train with such talented players. Seb [Haller] in particular is very strong, tall, and clever. He can play it simply but he can also score and he can pass well. 

“You don’t know as a defender what he’s going to do next, so it’s very difficult to defend against him.”

On Saturday lunchtime, he comes up against an Everton side with a porous defence so far this term, particularly at set-pieces, so don’t be surprised to see Haller add to his tally.

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