Danny Mills has revealed that the West Ham board are planning to build their squad around new forward Sebastien Haller after securing the Frenchman from Eintracht Frankfurt.
Speaking to Football Insider, Mills said: “I was actually speaking to Karren Brady yesterday (Thursday, 8 August) at an event and she said that they’re looking to build the team around him. They’re very happy with the business that they’ve done. The manager’s very, very positive.”
Haller’s physicality was a key part of Frankfurt’s plans last season, and alongside Luka Jovic formed a fearsome partnership. The 25-year-old scored 15 and assisted a further nine goals, and will be looking to take that form into his Premier League debut against Manchester City.
Should West Ham decide to play Haller as a lone striker, they will need to build a side around him that has the flair and skill to add to his physicality. Manuel Pellegrini has done just that, adding Pablo Fornals alongside, who will be looking to link up with Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini – something he has done brilliantly in pre-season. Haller’s main strengths are his hold up play and ability to link up the midfield to the attack, the Frenchman won the majority of his duels with defenders in the Bundesliga last season, averaging 6.9 successful aerial duels [WhoScored] – a stat that proves he can play both on the floor and in the air if needed too, something that Marko Arnautovic wasn’t capable of doing. Saturday’s opener against Man City will be a real test for Haller, who will have to constantly put their defence under pressure to try and force a mistake, as well as looking after the ball when the Hammers have it. According to WhoScored, City averaged 64% possession last season, and Haller could hold the key to disrupt that, with his work rate essential to stopping their defence from recycling possession.