Transfer Grade: Sébastien Haller to West Ham for £45 Million ($55.8M USD)

Chops July 17, 2019 230 Reads

Who: Sebastien Haller
From Where: Eintracht Frankfurt
To Where: West Ham
For How Much: £45 million ($55.8M USD)
Grade for West Ham: A
Grade for Eintracht Frankfurt: B

Sebastien Haller to West Ham Overview

As we’ve been writing, if there was a time for someone new to break into the top 6 in the Premier League, it’s this year.

It appears as if West Ham is going for it.

Today, the Hammers officially make their second record signing in consecutive summers, bringing in Sebastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt for £45 million ($55.8M USD). Last year, they broke the bank for Felipe Anderson. He turned out to be a wise spend. Anderson played 36 domestic games, tallying 9 goals and 4 assists, and contributed all over the pitch.

Haller fits a similar age profile and production level as Anderson. This is a smart signing by a club making the right kind of moves.

Who is he?

Haller is a 25 year-old Frenchman who is a bit of a late bloomer as far as top level prospects go.

He didn’t really make his mark until landing with FC Utrecht in the Eredivisie four years ago. Joining on loan in early 2015 and then permanently later that year, he scored 51 goals and tallied 17 assists in 91 total appearances.

Even after lighting up the Eredivisie, he didn’t find his footing immediately with Eintracht Frankfurt when coming over in 2017. It took a year to secure regular playing time, and even then he was often overshadowed by teammate and Real Madrid transferee Luka Jovic. This despite being more productive than Jovic (15 goals and 9 assists for Haller vs 17 goals and 5 assists).

However, he was one of the Bundesliga’s best overall statistical performers last year. And he’s just hitting his prime.

Bundesliga’s Best XI of 2018-19 via WhoScored.com

Is the price fair?

All things considered, this is a fantastic price (in this market, especially) for a productive player.

At the beginning of the summer, Transfermarkt priced Haller at
£35.7 million ($45.6M USD). To secure him at £45 million when Real Madrid spent £54 million on the slightly less productive (although younger) Jovic is great value.

What impact should we expect?

Assuming he adapts to the physical demands of the Premier League like his new workhorse running mate Anderson did, expect Haller to have a potentially significant impact.

The Hammers have the makings of a legit squad. They have a world-class manager in Manuel Pellegrini who had the team steadily improving all year, ending with a top 10 finish. They have Lukasz Fabianski, statistically one of the best goalkeepers in the world last year. The Hammers possess young talent just hitting or smack in the middle of their prime. This will be a fun team to watch.

How will Pellegrini use Haller? As his assist tally indicates, Haller is a skillful and creative passer. You can envision some exciting build-up / link-up play / through ball distribution between holding mid Declan Rice, Felipe Anderson and Haller.

At just under 6’3, he should be a threat on set pieces. However, he only scored 3 headers last year–5’9 Sadio Mane had 7. Regardless, consider that a statistical fluke with some regression upwards this year. Haller is a BOSS on aerials.

With the talent around him and a skillful manager who will put him in places to succeed, Haller achieving something like a 17-goal, 8-assist type season is possible.

The Grades

West Ham (A): I really like how West Ham are building their squad.

Keep in mind, the Hammers are no joke financially. They’re the 20th richest club (in terms of revenue) from last year. The key here is they’re not overspending. They have a clear profile and vision of how to spend.

Earlier this summer, West Ham signed Villarreal attacking mid Pablo Fornals (reportedly beating Arsenal for his signature). They got him for
£25m. I’m not that high on the 23 year-old, but he’s another creative distributor and dribbler who–if things click with Rice, Anderson, Haller, etc.–will spark some exciting soccer in East London.

West Ham aren’t overspending. They have a plan. They’re finding players at an age that help them contend today and a style that fits their manager’s vision.

As of today, would you rather have West Ham’s squad or Arsenal’s? That’s a legit question now, right?

Eintracht Frankfurt (B-): Considering that Eintracht bought Haller for £6m in 2017, this is a very nice haul. Eintracht have lost some considerable fire-power from last season’s squad. But they’ve raked in almost €110m for their troubles.

However, it’s tough seeing clubs who identify and develop young talent get picked over so much in one summer. And given the market
(and what they got for Jovic), the price for Haller seems a bit low.

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