Premier League

Champions League record-breaker Haller explains why £45m West Ham transfer didn't work out

15:10 SAST 2022/02/23
Sebastien Haller West Ham 2020-21
The Ivorian striker failed to live up to expectations in east London, but has quickly rebuilt his reputation at Johan Cruyff ArenA

Sebastian Haller has explained why his £45 million ($61m) transfer to West Ham didn't work out, admitting he "didn't really enjoy" his time in the Premier League.

West Ham paid a club-record fee to sign Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt in July 2019, having seen him score 24 goals across two seasons in the Bundesliga.

The Ivory Coast international never settled at the London Stadium, scoring only 15 goals in 54 games, and the Hammers cut their losses on him when Ajax came calling in January last year.

What's been said?

West Ham let Haller go to Johan Cruyff Arena for just £18 million ($24m), but he has since rebuilt his reputation in spectacular fashion.

The 27-year-old has found the net 41 times in his first 51 appearances for Ajax, with 28 of those coming in the 2021-22 campaign.

Haller's Champions League performances have drawn the most attention, as he became the first man to score in his first six outings in the competition while reaching double figures quicker than any other player in history in the group stage.

West Ham supporters didn't see the best of the forward because David Moyes didn't play to his strengths, he has now claimed, telling The Guardian: “I was brought in by Manuel Pellegrini but then David Moyes came and we got in a situation where we were … like trapped together.

“I was playing in a system that I didn’t really enjoy. Moyes preferred someone like [Michail] Antonio up front, and I’m super happy he [Antonio]’s doing so well; I am for all the guys at West Ham.

"I had a good time there with them but I was also really mad at the situation, [with] the way we were playing, the way I was playing, the way I was feeling …”

Asked if he bears any ill-feeling towards Moyes for the way his Hammers career turned out, Haller replied: “I don’t want to blame David. Sometimes a style of play doesn’t suit a player and I wasn’t the striker he needed. And I also wasn’t his signing.

"If you bring in players [as a manager] that cost money for the club, you need to show that you didn’t make a mistake.”

Haller on Erik Ten Hag

Moyes may not have been able to bring the best out of Haller, but Ajax boss Erik ten Hag certainly has since making him the focal point in his team.

The Dutch giants are on course to retain their Eredivisie title and favourites to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the expense of their last-16 opponents Benfica, with their manager receiving plenty of praise for how well they are performing.

Ten Hag has reportedly emerged as a candidate to take the permanent manager's job at Manchester United in the summer, and Haller thinks he would be a great asset to any top club due to his meticulous style of coaching.

“He can definitely go to a top competition,” Haller says. “No doubt. I have never seen a coach who is so obsessed with everything and I’ve had a lot of really good coaches.

"I like it when you have ideas and stick with them until the end to make it work.”

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