According to several reports, Manchester United are eyeing Eintracht Frankfurt striker Sebastien Haller as a replacement for Romelo Lukaku.
Lukaku has been linked to Inter, and is said to be a priority for their new manager Antonio Conte. Conte unsuccessfully tried to bring the Belgian striker to Chelsea two years ago, and is looking to secure his signatures again. However, Manchester United are holding out for a large fee, reported by Metro to be £80million. If the Italian club matches this valuation, then United will allow the forward to part ways.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has targeted several forwards to replace Lukaku in case he leaves, and the one name which has been strongly linked is Sebastien Haller. According to ESPN, United scouts watched Haller during Frankfurt’s run to the Europa League semifinals.
The French striker has been a standout performer for Frankfurt this season, and had formed a lethal partnership with strike-partner Luka Jovic. While Jovic stole all the headlines and sealed a move to Real Madrid, Haller managed to have a solid season without becoming a household name. In fact, Jovic, Haller and Ante Rebic scored 57 goals between them, and this is why Frankfurt secured European football.
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The 6’3” striker scored 20 goals and provided 12 assists in 41 appearances across all competitions. In the Bundesliga, he has 15 goals in 29 games. All this means that Haller has had a goal participation every 92 minutes – startling stats for a player who was signed for just £7m two years ago.
If Manchester United go ahead with this transfer, it is going to cost them a huge amount in transfer fees. Transfermarkt rates Haller at more than £35m, and it will cost United a lot more than that to secure the forward’s signature.
However, this transfer is one which will suit all the parties involved if it goes through. Haller can be described as a classic number nine – a player who is equally adept at scoring goals and providing support to other strikers. He already spent the last season playing second fiddle to Jovic, still averaging a goal every other game. This will be crucial to Solskjaer’s plans, who likes to play with two strikers.
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If Lukaku does depart, the Red Devils will have a severe shortage of natural strikers, with only Rashford and Greenwood in their ranks who can play in that position. Haller would fill up that position in a very effective manner.
Haller’s physical attributes will also suits the aggressive nature of the Premier League.
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The striker stands at 6’3”, and recently replaced Adebayo Akinfenwa as the strongest player in EA Sport’s FIFA. Former Frankfurt manager Niko Kovac said of Haller that “even a bulldozer couldn’t knock him over”. His height also lends him a significant advantage in the air. Haller is also a very versatile player, and often drifts on the wings as the match progresses. Haller is also known for his work rate – he leads the Bundesliga with the most challenges this season, and has won 50% of his tackles.
This move is also beneficial for Haller, with the striker angling for a Premier League move for some time now. In November, Goal quoted him saying to the German newspaper FAZ, “I would never switch to the Premier League just to play there. It has to make sense to me, and it has to be the right time for me. At the moment, I’m in Frankfurt, and I am very happy here. The Europa League contributes to this. It has already given me great moments and memories.”
Haller will also be desperate to break into the French national team. He has made 20 appearances for the French under-21 team, but is yet to earn his first senior cap. A move to the Premier League will earn him the recognition necessary to do just that.
All in all, this move represents a benefit for all the parties involved, and it needs to be seen if the Red Devils are able to pull this deal over the line.