Sebastien Haller: Was West Ham’s record signing unusable or unused?

Sebastien Haller of West Ham United. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Sebastien Haller of West Ham United. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) /
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For someone whose strength is his ability to hold up the ball, I have never seen a West Ham player lose it so much. Whether the stats back this up or not, it doesn’t matter – you watch Haller and just think the ball wouldn’t stick to him if it was made of glue.

Yes, Haller looked good against Hull City in the League Cup, but let’s be realistic – it’s Hull. True, there were a few good moments in the Premier League – an acrobatic strike against Crystal Palace and a winner against Sheffield United – but hardly enough to warrant a price tag of nearly £50 million.

In 18 months at West Ham, Haller has 10 goals in 48 games. Just the £4.5 million a goal – if you don’t include the striker’s wages. Disappointing is an understatement; it’s an awful return.

In Antonio’s absence, Haller did nothing to change his manager’s mind that he was second choice to a winger signed from Nottingham Forrest.

"“If we don’t then we need to think what else we can do, how else we can do it. We need alternatives and options, we’re a little bit limited with that. “I’m going to have to start looking in my own group to find another Antonio. That’s what I’m going to have to try to do.” [Moyes, after West Ham’s 3-0 defeat to Chelsea. CNA Sport.]"

Again, Haller gets plaudits for his technical ability and whilst I’ll never question the 26-year-old’s potential, I never saw it in East London.

West Ham’s record transfer has just one Premier League assist. One. This year, he created one ‘big chance’ in 16 appearances. You can’t just blame the system; the player has to take some criticism.

Certainly, Hammer’s fans gave Haller a hard time. They did. But, did Haller do anything to get the fans excited – yes, a bit. But, not enough; not nearly enough.

Arguably, the fans affected him. It felt like some expected him to fail – along with his striking predecessors. But again, it is another excuse. Let’s be honest, since March, the London Stadium has been void of fans and very little has changed in Haller’s performances.

Against Palace, Moyes even started with a painfully unfit Antonio, rather than Haller. Hardly a vote of confidence in the ability of a player he watches train every day.