West Ham United are close to making their second purchase of the summer transfer window.
It’s another attack-minded player who looks set to move to East London following Pablo Fornals’ £24m transfer from Villarreal, when he became the West Ham’s second most expensive signing in their history.
Fornals will move down to third once a £40m move for Eintracht Frankfurt forward Sebastian Haller goes through as expected.
Frankfurt have confirmed reports that the two clubs have agreed terms for the Frenchman and will now proceed with a medical examination before becoming an Iron.
Haller scored 20 goals in all competitions from 39 appearances for Die Adler last season, with the club finishing seventh in the German Bundesliga. Eintracht Frankfurt also reached the semi-finals of the Europa League before being defeated by eventual winners and perennial West Ham rivals Chelsea. Haller scored the first penalty of the ultimately unsuccessful second-leg shoot-out for Frankfurt.
Haller has been capped for France at Under-21 level, and is also eligible to feature for the Ivory Coast national team, through his mother. He featured at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2011, a tournament that featured notable names such as Raheem Sterling, Memphis Depay, Viktor Fischer, Emre Can, and Nathaniel Chalobah.
The 25-year-old Haller began his career at Ligue 2 side AJ Auxerre before moving permanently to the Eredivisie and FC Utrecht in 2015 following a preceding six months out on loan in the Netherlands. In that short initial period he received the Di Tommaso Trophy after being voted Utrecht’s Player of the Year.
He moved to Eintracht Frankfurt in 2017 and had a hand in more goals than any other teammate that season, as well as claiming the Goal of the Year with an injury-time acrobatic bicycle kick winner against Stuttgart.
Haller’s anticipated move to the London Stadium continues a certain trend in West Ham’s transfer strategy. The Hammers have been fervent Francophiles in the past several years, with Les Bleus players such as Patrice Evra, Issa Diop, Samir Nasri, and Dimitri Payet all donning the claret & blue.
His former Frankfurt gaffer Niko Kovač once proclaimed that “A bulldozer couldn’t knock him over!” and the 6ft 2inch Haller is certainly a physically imposing player, with strength in the air.
Haller’s valuable experience in three different leagues, with an excellent goal-scoring tally in each country, leads to hopes that he is indeed ready to lead a new-look attack for Pellegrini, the Chilean manager having dispensed with Lucas Perez, Andy Carroll, and Marko Arnautović following the conclusion of the 2018/19 season.
West Ham will no doubt be able to use the funds procured from the recent sale of Arnautović to Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG F.C.