In today’s transfer market, £45m is simply the going rate for any new striker coming into the Premier League from across Europe.
Almost £100m has already been spent by top-flight clubs on centre-forwards this summer, but the arrival of Eintracht Frankfurt’s Sébastien Haller ahead of the 2019/20 campaign will be among the most high-profile new signings in the Premier League next season.
Just like with any player moving to England from across Europe for the first time in their career, an air of mystery is understandably going follow – especially for stars who are tasked with scoring the lion’s share of a team’s goals that season.
And for soon-to-be West Ham striker Haller, uncertainty over what he can bring to London Stadium is even more understandable.
Before his £6m move to Frankfurt in 2017, Haller had spent his career struggling to establish himself with Auxerre before impressing with mid-table Dutch side FC Utrecht, where he scored 51 goals and claimed 17 assists in just 91 appearances.
His record at the Galgenwaard Stadion unsurprisingly caught the attention of scouts in the Premier League, but being turned off the move after seeing how Jozy Altidore, Vincent Janssen and others adapted outside of Holland, it wasn’t until Eintracht Frankfurt came calling that Haller got his chance in a top European league.
The 25-year-old didn’t set the world on fire during his first season in Germany, but patches of outstanding form – which included a bicycle kick to score a last-minute winner against Stuttgart – saw Haller’s stock rise at the Commerzbank-Arena.
Haller was sitting behind Croatian forward Ante Rebić as Frankfurt’s main man during his maiden season with the club, and last year saw Luka Jović surpass them both as Die Adler’s top dog.
But Haller’s numbers still imporved and his importance to Adi Hütter’s side became a real talking point for fans in the Bundesliga, especially when Eintracht Frankfurt were left as the only club flying Germany’s flag in European competitions.
He scored 20 goals and claimed 12 assists across all competitions during the 2018/19 campaign which helped the club finish within four points of qualifying for the Champions League.
But it was Haller’s ability to bring the best out of his teammates in central Germany which earmarked him as a key player for Eintracht Frankfurt, and it’s those same qualities which could see West Ham skyrocket up the Premier League table next season.
Brazil international Felipe Anderson took no time at all to settle into life in east London, and he ended the campaign as West Ham’s most exciting player after being directly involved in 15 goals across all competitions.
The club were restricted elsewhere in attack – both Andriy Yarmolenko and Manuel Lanzini suffered through injury – but Manuel Pellegrini’s side still managed to finish on the cusp of European football, just five points behind Nuno Espírito Santo’s Wolves.
Not content with their mid-table finish, West Ham have already made waves in the transfer market by signing Spanish talent Pablo Fornals under the noses of former suitors Arsenal and Barcelona.
The 23-year-old arrived earlier this summer in a £25m deal from Villarreal, and Fornals’ arrival has already proved to be a major statement of intent by the club.
But the one thing that’s still laking from West Ham’s attack – especially following Marko Arnautović’s move to CSL side Shanghai SIPG – is a focal point that can bring all the individual pieces together at London Stadium.
And with Haller’s expected arrival in the coming days, the Hammers are on the cusp of adding the final piece of the jigsaw to an attacking lineup which sides even in the Champions League would be in awe of.
Simply through Haller’s physique, fans can expect a host of lazy comparisons to Andy Carroll during his early stages at the club, but in fact what they’ll be getting is a natural goalscorer who not only can, but will get the best out of his teammates.
The former France Under-21 international’s underrated ability off the ball will be a constant headache for defenders throughout the Premier League, while his link-up play will offer Anderson, Fornals and Yarmolenko the chance to grab the headlines on any given matchday.
At just £45m, West Ham could be on the cusp of securing one of the best deals of the entire summer transfer window and a new striker which finally builds on the club’s expectations to establish themselves as a major player at European football’s top table.