Sébastien Haller: “I thought a lot about European football. But in a career, you have to take everything into account.”

Speaking to L’Équipe, French forward Sébastien Haller discusses his €50m move to West Ham United.

Your move to West Ham United breaks their transfer record – does that feel pressurising?

Honestly, not really. I am arriving into a world, England, where there are enormous sums spent each window. I do not think that I am the object of an enormous transfer, from my side. And all of this is part of the game anyway.

Being bought for €50m, does that not make you emotional?

It makes me emotional in the sense that it is a strong signal from the club. That means a lot. It is a lovely sign of confidence. It shows that the club really wanted me.

You are replacing Marko Arnautovic, the Hammers’ star last year.

You know, I am not someone who closely follows football news. I am not concerned with what came before me. I want to bring everything that I can bring, try to adapt myself the most I can, as quickly as I can, and pay back those who believed in me.

What did Manuel Pellegrini say to you to convince you to sign for West Ham?

It was not very complex. He is a great manager and, quite simply when a great manager tells you that he is interested in you, that’s already a strong sign. He knows me, thinks that I can adapt to this club. And then for the moment it is not like there are 36 strikers in the squad, which is lucky for me, initially. I, of course, wanted to come here.

Even though they can’t offer European football?

I thought a lot about European football. I wanted it. But in a career, you have to take everything into account. You have to reason holistically. And West Ham was a real opportunity.

If Frankfurt had qualified for the Champions’ League, would you still have left?

I do not know how I would have felt. I would have probably spent more time thinking about it. But it is too difficult to say today what would have happened, what would not have happened.

Is coming back to France a possibility?

Possible, yes, foreseeable, not at all. I didn’t want to come back to France in the sense that there was nothing there for me. What was being offered to me was not made for me.

Were Ligue 1 clubs after you?

Not this summer, but in the previous summers, yes.

If you were to describe your faculties, what would you say?

Describing myself is complicated. Even I, I don’t know what I am. Big, athletic, an attacker who wins his duels. I am more of a pivot but I am trying to play in all the registers. I don’t want to limit myself by claiming I belong to one register. I like for example to try to combine with midfielders, provide assists. I also don’t shirk my responsibility defensively.

Do you think that the Premier League will afford you more media attention than you received in the Bundesliga?

It is possible. But I have enjoyed some very good moments in the Bundesliga. It was really great. We run a lot, in Germany, but I adored it. Now, a new adventure begins. I am going to discover a league that is more athletic, certainly, where I will have it all to learn.

At Christmas, Boxing Day football. In Spring… EURO 2020?

It is possible, I would take it! I am open. Well, between now and then, I am going to have to score some goals.


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