Newcastle After Goalscoring In-Demand French Striker

L’Equipe are reporting today that Newcastle are interested in signing French U-21 striker Sebastien Haller who plays at Eredivisie club FC Utrecht.

The 6ft 2ins striker has played for all of the French Youth sides including 14 appearances for the U-21 side with 9 goals.

Sebastien Halle r-656618

22 year-old Utrecht striker Sebastien Haller

He only joined Utrecht last summer from Auxerre on a permanent basis, but he managed to score 24 goals in 40 appearances and the season before last – from January last year – he was on loan at Utrecht and scored 11 goals in 17 appearances so he seems a good goalscorer.

So in 57 appearances for Utrecht he has scored 35 goals in the last 18 months.

He was heavily linked with with a move to Tottenham earlier this year, but L’Equipe are reporting today that Newcastle have made contact with Utrecht  and have asked about signing the 22 year-old striker.

Sporting Lisbon are also said to be interested in Haller as a potential replacement for  Islam Slimani, after they have accepted a bid of £21M from West Brom for their star striker.

Big spending Everton have also been linked with Haller, who has scored 43 goals in a total of 43 goals in 94 first team appearances so far in his career at Auxerre and Utrecht.

In early April Tottenham were favorites to sign the striker and a fee of around 8M was mentioned at that time, with a host of other clubs also interested in signing the youngster who had been very impressive in the Eredivisie.

Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach and Schalke 04 were all linked with the player at that time.

Last January Haller was linked with a potential move to then relegation candidates Aston Villa, Norwich and Sunderland, but nothing materialized.

The player is said to be “very fond” of the Premier League, so whether he would be interested in signing for Newcastle in the Championship is a good question.

Haller has represented France 45 times at the various youth levels and scored 21 goals so he looks like a budding top striker based on his record so far.

He is also a big striker at 6ft 2ins, which is what Rafa Benitez is said to be looking for before the end of August.

Comments welcome.

10 comments so far

  • nico

    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #1

    At the game last night, here’s my thoughts.
    My merit marks
    Sels 4 – So far I don’t rate him. Even when he saves the ball he pushes back into the danger zone.
    Dummett 5– Skipper for the day. Average performance.
    Clark – 4 – Didn’t win many headers and gave away a pen with a clumsy tackle.
    Mbemba – 7– Did well and looked quite solid.
    Anita – 6 – Did well, his best position at RB for sure.
    Shelley 8 – Always looks for a forward pass. Set up so many attacks with inventive passes, also he puts in a good tackle.
    Ritchie 9 – Man of the Match. Outstanding player to watch. Great skill and energy and commitment.
    Hayden 8 – Scored and got forward well, also good in the tackle. I think he will get better and better.
    Goufran 5 – Not sure why he played, but did okay.
    Perez 4 – Poor touch, lacks strength. He also seems to have no pace now. Needs to toughen up. I think Armstrong can do better.
    Gayle 8- worked his socks off scored a great free kick and poached a goal late on. That’s 3 for him, all in the same net.

    We played better as a team tonight and hunted them down in packs. We had less possession but that was because we were more direct which I like. Didn’t spend 5 mins passing it around at the back. We switched play well and used the ball over the top. Once Mitro is back it will be interesting to see what Rafa does. I personally would like to see Mitro and Gayle up top with Ritchie on one side and Aarons on the other. That would give Championship defences nightmares.

  • Mag52

    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #2

    I hope we hang on to Gouffran.
    He has a terrific motor, and will play wherever the manager wants to play him. No prima donna, he’s just the sort of utility footballer needed once injuries kick in later in the season.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:33 AM

    Comment #3

    11Blofal // Aug 18, 2016 at 4:13 AM

    Everyone seems to be arguing against 4-2-3-1 but the reason it’s the most used system is because it’s the most flexible.

    Push the number 10 forward slightly and instantly you have 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1.

    Drop the number 10 back and push the wingers forward and you have 4-3-3.

    In defence drop the midfield back to defend together and you have 4-5-1.

    Managers don’t actually play formations.. The game is much more fluid than that. 4-2-3-1 is the most flexible system and that is why most managers play it.


    Sorry, Bolfal. You’ve bamboozled me. Are you saying one system can morph into another seamlessly with your favoured 4-2-3-1? Does that not mean all systems can morph into each other? To me it’s just about having your best players on the park. Good players will adapt. Perez was hopeless the other day but because he played closer to Gayle and the two of them tried to link up and exploit one another, Perez did a good job in aiding Gayle’s game even though Perez himself didn’t play particularly well.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #4

    I can’t stand Mick Lowes. But I do agree with him on Gouffran, who might have worked hard but who was very limited and predictable.

    You ask if bloggers form their opinions based on pundits, commentators etc. I see folk on here with strident opinions on games and players and I imagine they haven’t even been to the match, perhaps only seen highlights of goals and read reports. I think those people should declare their hand before they comment.

  • toontaff2

    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #5

    Glad I picked Hayden as player of season – excellent last night -8
    Wish I’d picked Ritchie – pure class, excellent first touch and beats men regularly, 2 footed – 9
    Gayle – a real handful – 8
    Mbemba – top defender, comfortable on ball – 8
    Shelvey- much better and got stuck in – 7
    Gouffran -after slating him in p[re-season, humble pie, great work rate – 7
    Dummett – solid – 7
    Clark – nervous, ok except for silly penalty- 4th choice centre-back nailed on! – 5
    Anita – ok, but not a proper right-back and they were over running us on right for last 10-15 minutes of first half- needs to cement a seat on the bench – 5
    Perez – not going to start when Mitro returns – 5
    Sels – needs to be dropped, poor distribution and makes us all nervous! – 3

  • toontaff2

    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #6

    I was in 30 minutes before kick off and thought I was in on the wrong night! Gallowgate, behind the goal, middle stand Near empty, where were the flags?
    Thankfully 5 mins to kick off the fans arrived!
    Fans stuck with the team, wish I’d got a seat in the corner, though!
    Refs in this league are shocking – you need to assault an opponent to get a warning!
    Perez needs to man up and get street-wise as he is falling over too easily, expecting free-kicks.
    Shelvey got stuck in and maybe a few more need to put a few more hard challenges/fouls in to mix it if the ref is allowing it!

  • lesh

    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #7

    Wow, there are a lot of big names among the clubs interested in Halle.

    What Ed doesn’t mention is that we’re Halle’s dream club and have been since he was a bairn. Harrumph!

  • Macas

    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #8

    Gouffran was a waste of space last night, the sooner we get shot of him the better. Shelvey was man of the match for me. Ritchie lively as usual but final ball was a bit lacking at times I thought. Also didn’t think Sels was as bad as people made out. Going to take time for him to get used to his defence but he did nothing wrong last night, after looking a bit shaky for the second goal on Saturday.

  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #9


    Just continuing on from last thread…

    I think that Rafa may be close to finding the right balance. 4231 can be more attacking if you put a box-to-box midfielder in as one of the two, instead of two holding players. Some of our players unbalance the side imo. Janmaat for example. Last night (looking at the highlights) is the most balanced we have been so far this season.

  • Blofal

    Aug 18, 2016 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #10

    Blackley it means exactly what I said.

    Yes all systems can morph into each other but the distribution of players in a 4-2-3-1 makes it very easy given the distribution of players over the field. So essentially you can be playing a different system with every attack if that’s what the manager wants as I explained earlier.

    But my greater point was that managers don’t play formations they play tactics. And it’s widely recognised that tactics can be switched most rapidly in a 4-2-3-1 due to the “double 6” element.

    You can find a brief explanation on it here..,-soccer.html


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