Why Real Madrid should consider Haller as Benzema replacement

Martin Macdonald
Erik ten Hag laments ‘unbelievably annoying’ Sebastien Haller squad error at Ajax

Sebastian Haller became the butt of many jokes during his failed spell at West Ham.

Following a positive couple of seasons with Eintracht Frankfurt in which he scored 24 goals and recorded 13 assists in 49 starts in the Bundesliga, he earned a mammoth £45 million transfer to the Hammers.

The Frenchman was unable to replicate the form he enjoyed in Germany in the Premier League as in his 18 month spell with West Ham he scored just 10 Premier League goals.

When the opportunity came for West Ham to cut their losses, they agreed to sell Haller to Ajax for a knockdown fee of £22m.

The fact that the Premier League side were willing to accept such a loss from the fee they initially paid highlights just how little faith they had that Haller would eventually come good.

There is an argument to be made that he was not utilised correctly by West Ham, as he was often used as a lonely, solitary striker during his time at the club.

At Ajax, with forwards buzzing around him, he has flourished.

He has an outstanding record with the Dutch giants so far, scoring 20 goals and recording eight assists in the Eredivisie alone since January of 2021 when he signed.

Haller has been marvellous in the Champions League, too, and on Wednesday became the fastest player ever to score nine goals in the competition, ahead of the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.

If Haller continues this form, there is no reason why elite clubs around Europe won't take notice.

Haller to Real Madrid?

There are a number of big clubs on the continent who will be on the lookout for a new centre-forward soon, including Inter, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona and Juventus.

Looking at Madrid specifically, he might prove to be the perfect replacement for Karim Benzema.

Now, Benzema isn't showing any signs of slowing down as he is currently playing arguably the best form of his life.

But, at 33, his time at the very top level is indeed winding down which means Real Madrid need to think of the future.

Their number one target remains Haaland, but with basically every big club credited with an interest in the Norwegian, there is no guarantee they will get him, which means alternatives need to be identified.

It is clear that Madrid have a future global superstar on their hands in Vinicius Junior, while Kylian Mbappe is expected to sign in the summer on a free transfer.

Those two maverick inside forwards could actually perform better with a focal point player up front, and Haller would be able to introduce them into play as well as grab goals himself.

He may not be the most glamorous name after his spell at West Ham, but that doesn't mean he'd be an unsuccessful one.