West Ham paid a club-record £45m to sign Sébastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt in their pursuit of a new striker, during a summer in which Andy Carroll left when his contract expired, Lucas Perez was sold to Alaves, and Marko Arnautovic left for Shanghai SIPG.
Agreeing a five-year contract with the option of an additional 12 months, Haller arrived having scored 20 goals in 41 appearances during 2018/19 for the Bundesliga side, amid a wider total of 33 in 77 during the two years in Germany that followed his 51 in 98 with Utrecht, in the Netherlands. The Frenchman, who has represented his country at every age group up to and including under-21 level, had joined the Dutch outfit from Auxerre, who were impressed by his performances at the 2011 edition of the Under-17 World Cup.
His direct involvement in 24 goals in the Bundesliga in 2018/19 – he scored 15 times and made nine assists – was surpassed by only Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, perhaps justifying the fact that his transfer fee comfortably eclipsed the £36m West Ham previously invested in Felipe Anderson. “A bulldozer couldn’t knock him over”, former Bayern coach Niko Kovac once said.