How good is West Ham & Man Utd target Haller?

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

West Ham United have been heavily linked with a bid for Eintracht Frankfurt forward Sebastian Haller this summer, with Sky Sports reporting that the two clubs have entered into talks over the possible transfer of the Frenchman.

On the chalkboard

How good is Haller, though, really?

A natural centre-forward who formed a fearsome partnership with Luka Jovic last season, he scored 20 goals in all competitions. Jovic, who netted 27, earned himself a move to Real Madrid.

Haller could be the next to move to the Premier League if reports are to be believed, with Manchester United also credited with an interest.

Haller is a truly dynamic forward, as emphasised by his statistics.

Per Understat, he averaged 2.23 shots on goal per 90 minutes played, with a key pass per 90 of 1.57 in 2018/19. Not only is he constantly looking to score, he can also tee up his team-mates.

He had an expected goals (xG) rate of 13.69, too, which he outscored. That suggests Haller regularly takes chances that he shouldn’t, the sign of a truly prolific striker.

He also had an xG per 90 rate of 0.57 – more than a goal a game – and an expected assist (xA) rate of 0.30.

These are genuinely exceptional statistics.

Compare with Romelu Lukaku, the United striker who he could potentially replace if he moves to Old Trafford.

Lukaku averaged an xG of 13.11, which is similar to Haller. He scored just 12 goals in the Premier League, however. This is a striker who does not score all of the chances that he should. He has an xG per 90 rate of 0.56, again, similar to Haller, but he has not scored as many goals as the Frankfurt forward. His expected assist rate of 0.10 is, quite frankly, appalling and he failed to register a single assist in the top-flight.

United are said to value Lukaku at around £80m. Haller could move for £40m. Work those sums out.

A Premier League quality striker

Haller is more than capable of playing in the Premier League.

It remains to be seen if he will move to the London Stadium or Old Trafford but one thing is for sure: he is likely to score goals in the English top-flight.

Haller has exploded as a player in the past 12 months; per Understat, he scored just nine goals in 2017/18.

This speaks to him approaching his peak and it appears that he is now nearing a big move. Add to that his natural physicality, measuring in at 6 foot 3, and a Premier League switch certainly feels like the right choice.

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Haller has seen Jovic make the switch to the Santiago Bernabeu and it now appears likely that the 25-year-old will be on the move too. Frankfurt will likely struggle to replace him but, at the end of the day, the forward is unlikely to care.

He’ll just keep on hitting the back of the net.

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