Former West Ham forward Sebastien Haller scored again for Ajax as they moved 11 points clear of PSV in the Dutch Eredivisie on Sunday.
The Ivorian bagged a 61st-minute winner for his club, who came from a goal down to beat Heerenveen 2-1. The 26-year-old has been having a fantastic time in the Netherlands since departing the London Stadium in January.
Haller was signed by ex-West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini. The club smashed their transfer record on him, spending £45million to acquire his services. It didn’t work out in east London – Pellegrini left months after he signed, and Moyes didn’t see him fit for the system.
Haller is really enjoying his football for Ajax. The Eredivisie is far less intense than the Premier League, instead littered with technically gifted players. It suits Haller’s style of play much more, he has to do less work off the ball and is allowed to be a target man.
In his 15 Ajax appearances, Haller has scored nine and assisted five goals. He’s on fire at the moment, looking much more comfortable than he did England. Of that tally, seven goals and five assists have come in the league for his new club.
Since making his debut, Haller has registered 6.12 touches per 90 minutes in the opposition penalty box [WyScout]. This ranks him fourth highest in the Eredivisie. He always had the ability to link up play but seemed rushed in the Premier League.
Admittedly, it’s frustrating to see his goal involvements for Ajax, but hardly a surprise. It was always obvious that Haller was a wonderfully gifted forward, but for whatever reason, it didn’t work out with us.
Moyes let him go and put all of his faith into Michail Antonio. Since Haller left, Mich has played 11 times in the Premier League, scoring four and assisting five. He is a different player entirely to Haller – he grafts for 90 minutes, something Haller wasn’t able to do.
Or at least, we thought he wasn’t. His form for Ajax suggests otherwise – looking at him now, did he even want to try for West Ham?
In nine of his 12 league matches, Haller has completed 90 minutes for Ajax whilst scoring and assisting. At West Ham he spent most of the time static – he didn’t seem to want to be there. It came as no real shock to see him move on as quickly as he did in the end.