West Ham United’s club record signing Sebastien Haller has settled into life in English football far better than even his monster fee would have you expecting.
He’ll be facing one of the sternest tests that he will experience in the Premier League on Sunday, though, when he comes up against the world’s most expensive defender: Manchester United’s Harry Maguire.
Haller is undaunted, though: “It’s a big story and beautiful story but I like a challenge! I think also the club here paid a lot of money for me to come here and win these battles!,” he told the club’s official website about the prospect of facing the England international. “I can’t promise I will always win them, but I can promise I will give everything to win these battles.”
The 25-year-old is right to be confident given how well he has performed so far since making the switch to the London Stadium. The three goals I’ve already mentioned, but Haller is also averaging 2.8 shots, 0.8 key passes and 0.8 dribbles per game, as well as an average match rating of 7.68 [Source: WhoScored.com].
He is a formidable physical presence, meaning he’s only been dispossessed once in four league games this term. However, somewhat surprisingly, he’s lost just over half of his aerial duels to date.
Maguire, on the other hand, has won 4.8 of his 6.4 aerial duels this campaign [Source: WhoScored.com]. However, the United man is only averaging 0.8 tackles per game, perhaps indicating that he will have a hard time getting the ball off the Hammers frontman.
This is certainly going to be an evenly matched battle. As Haller says, he was brought to West Ham to win these kinds of contests. He’s confident heading into it, and rightfully so, but now he must deliver the goods.