The flash transfer of Sébastien Haller – he is Ajaxs most expensive purchase of all time – is a win-win-win situation. The striker himself, Ajax and West Ham United all seem to be getting better.
First, Haller. For the 26-year-old Ivorian international, who debuted for his country in November, West Ham should have been the last step to the absolute top. Under a trainer, Manuel Pellegrini, who played the attacking football in which Haller pays the best.
The attacking football in which he excelled at FC Utrecht, under Erik ten Hag. And at Eintracht Frankfurt, playing at a forefront with current Real Madrid player Luka Jovic and Ante Rebic, currently employed by AC Milan.
But, as that so often goes in football, Pellegrini was fired and replaced by a trainer who propagates a completely different style of play. Under the new manager David Moyes, Mikhail Antonio excels at West Ham in the rush hour, a mobile attacker who often defends to the flank and thrives well in a team playing on the counter.
In Amsterdam, Haller can again be the striker who prepares balls for others and anticipates advance from the flanks. The coat rack in Ajaxs attack game, among all those moving people in the Ten Hag system. A coach he knows well, moreover. And vice versa.
*Neres amount has increased to 22 million, because Ajax bought off Neress resale clause for seven million at the time of Antonys transfer last year. Both Brazilians came from São Paulo FC.
Then Ajax. The Amsterdammers have apparently well occupied the peak position, with routine Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, the upcoming talents Lassina Traoré and Brian Brobbey and Dusan Tadic as an extra proven option.
But Huntelaar, Traoré and Brobbey are all injured. Just like David Neres, which makes Tadic necessary on the flanks. Haller, who is top fit and can stand there immediately, is no superfluous luxury in a month in which the top duels follow each other at a furious pace. Starting with meeting PSV next Sunday.
Moreover, in the medium term, two of the four key options are likely to leave. Huntelaar plays with the thought of quitting, while Brobbeys contract expires next summer.
The 18-year-old Brobbey told De Cceit in November that he would renew “100 percent sure” in Amsterdam, but there are also stories that manager Mino Raiola offered him in Italy. A clever negotiation tactic? Perhaps, but a departure is not ruled out.
With Danilo, Ajax has another striker under contract, one that easily finds the net, as he proves this season on a rental basis at FC Twente. But whether Ajax sees the future of the Brazilian in Amsterdam, is very questionable.
Square block wood
Because the amount involved in the transfer of Haller is spread over several years, the investment can be made for Ajax. Moreover, it is not unthinkable that Haller can be sold again for a good price in the future, given his age of 26 years.
Finally, West Ham United. The London club has a striker with the aforementioned Antonio that thrives well in Moyess football, but the 30-year-old Englishman was out with hamstring problems this season. In addition, he is the only option in the tip of the attack.
Haller was in England like a square block of wood rammed into a round hole by an enthusiastic toddler; it simply didnt fit. This is reflected in the cold figures, which were not dramatic, but also did not justify West Ham putting 50 million euros on the table for him in 2019:14 goals and 3 assists in 53 matches.
Between 2015 and 2017, Haller made a big break in FC Utrechts shirt:
With the more than 20 million euros that West Ham now receives for him, the club can look for a second player à la Antonio. Joshua King of Bournemouth, Moussa Dembélé of Olympique Lyonnais (not the same as the former AZ player) and Boulaye Dia of Reims in France are already mentioned as successor to Haller.
West Ham United happy, Haller happy, Ajax happy.