West Ham’s former striker Sebastien Haller has opened up about the pressures that came with being the club’s record signing and his disappointment with the way his Hammers career turned out.
Signed from Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt for £45 million in 2019, Haller was expected to hit the ground running and lead the line for West Ham for years to come.
Things did not quite pan out that way for the 26-year-old wanted at the London Stadium – 48 Premier League games and just ten goals was not good enough to see him become a first-choice pick under David Moyes stewardship.
Some of the Ivorian’s goals were truly outstanding, his acrobatic finishes against Crystal Palace earlier this season and similar strikes versus Watford and Bournemouth spring instantly to mind.
When the offer came in from Ajax, Moyes and the club decided it was too good to turn down as they could not foresee a similar bid emerging for the striker in the future and with no replacement lined up Haller was allowed to move to the Netherlands.
Haller has thrived at his new side with seven goals in eleven matches since arriving at The Johan Cruyff Arena, yet there remains a sense of what could have been at West Ham for the striker:
“Usually I am never looking back, no regrets. Of course, I feel frustrated because it is like I left without finishing something. That is a bad feeling,” Haller told talkSPORT.
“Of course when people are talking about the price tag every day they are waiting every day for something for this money. You can do nothing about this price, it is the price tag you have on your back for all your West Ham career. People will see you with another view, they expect even more from you than someone else.”
Haller’s five assists for Ajax since his arrival is two more than he managed across all competitions for West Ham. This underlines a point the Ivory Coast international made about his time in London and the lack of on-field connection he had with his Hammers teammates:
“It was really frustrating to see games coming and no goals, sometimes not involved. The stats are something but I had the feeling that I couldn’t find a perfect place on the pitch,” he added.
“The feeling that sometimes you don’t understand or cannot anticipate what your partner will do. It was really strange.”
The striker does not regret the move to West Ham nor his subsequent departure from the London Stadium:
“At the time it was a good step to go to West Ham. The people were nice to me and the project is why I decided to move,” he said.
“After one-and-a-half years It was the best solution for both parties to separate. It’s never easy to understand why it was not going well and it was not perfect for me the situation in the club.”
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Since Haller’s departure from the club, West Ham have risen to fourth in the table to mount what many see as a shock challenge for the Champions League spots but Haller is one of the few not to be surprised.
“We knew the potential was there, the guys have made incredible work,” he said.
“I really hope that they will finish in the Champions League spots. It will be amazing for the club, fans and players. They deserve this.”