David Moyes risks making an unforgivable mistake in the January transfer window by eying Red Bull Salzburg forward Patson Daka as Sebastien Haller’s replacement.
Moyes is on the hunt for Haller’s replacement, yet has insisted the Irons will only spend on attacking arrivals this month if the right option becomes available.
Salzburg are thought to value Daka at £25m after he netted 15 goals in 17 games prior to the Austrian winter break, including striking home eight in eight Bundesliga games – only failing to score once after recovering from a hamstring injury.
The 18-cap Zambia international is apparently keen to secure a switch to the Premier League, which would bring the curtain down on a three-and-a-half-year spell at the Red Bull Arena for the 2017 African Youth Player of the Year.
Daka’s stock rose considerably during 2020 as he became the most-valuable current Bundesliga player, as he enjoyed a career-best season, hitting 27 goals and providing 12 assists across all competitions after offering six goals and two assists in the previous campaign.
Despite Daka’s impressive contribution with RB Salzburg, Moyes opting to instruct West Ham co-owner and Chairman David Sullivan to splash the cash on the 6ft ace would see the Hammers boss risk making an unforgivable mistake.
Haller proved to be an unmitigated flop in claret and blue as he was unable to suit the one-striker system Moyes has favoured throughout his second spell at the London Stadium, but those signs were clear from his time with Eintracht Frankfurt.
Before joining the Irons in a club-record £45m deal during the costly Manuel Pellegrini/Mario Husillos era, Haller was one of the stars of a Frankfurt side as he played beside mobile and lethal forwards Luka Jovic and Ante Rebic rather than lead the line on his own.
Moyes often questioned Haller’s ability to play solo, noting via quotes by the Evening Standard: “I think Seb, a 6 ft 4 centre-forward and you’re leading the line, I think you are expecting much more of that. Maybe Seb isn’t completely that type. We are still finding out exactly what Seb’s attributes are in that case.”
Haller’s failings will likely remain at the London Stadium despite his exit if West Ham opt to target Daka, for Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch has never fielded the Zambian as an isolated centre-forward throughout his 69 games in charge of the Austrian side.
Marsch only ever deploys sides featuring two out-and-out strikers leading the line, thus Moyes would be spending big on a player who, like Haller, may not understand the role he is signed to play.