Sebastien Haller has denied that he has come to Borussia Dortmund as Erling Haaland’s successor, saying that the club want his qualities as a player.
Borussia Dortmund signed the Ivory Coast international from Ajax last week. Haller penned a four-year contract, and his former club will receive €31m, plus possible undisclosed performance-based add-ons.
He previously played in the Bundesliga before, spending two years with Eintracht Frankfurt after signing with them in 2017.
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Haller, who has been at the German training camp for about a week, was adamant that he was not at Dortmund to copy Haaland’s style of play, and be a like-for-like replacement.
When asked about being the Norwegian striker’s successor, Haller said: “You [the media] say this. I just came to Borussia Dortmund. I don’t come after someone. I came here because they needed my quality. I will do my best to give them back the confidence they put in me.”
Haller also spoke about which of his new team-mates have impressed him the most so far, and he had high praise for Jude Bellingham.
“Everyone knows that Jude is just a crazy player. At his age, with the abilities he has on the pitch… He will have a great career if he still plays like this.”
The 28-year-old has played for a fair share of clubs but believes that the spirit of Dortmund has really made him excited for the upcoming season.
“Of course, we try to get to know each other better because there are some new players meeting for the first time, but there is a good spirit. We all want to improve our game and be better altogether.
“[Edin Terzic and I] had a good talk together. Not only about tactics because you tactically speak for hours and days. This is only one part. The way he wants to manage the group… is also something important. This talk was nice.”
Haller is coming into the Bundesliga just as its biggest star – Robert Lewandowski – is leaving it, something that the Dortmund player wasn’t too upset at when asked about the possibility of becoming the best striker in the league.
“Lewandowski is gone. I wouldn't complain,” he joked. “All the strikers won’t complain, but I cannot count on the weakness of others to win something. I need to earn it and I need to go for it. The most important thing is that I focus on myself and score as many goals as possible to deserve [the title of best striker in the league]."
His time at Eintracht Frankfurt will likely be different to his new test at Dortmund due to his age and how much he feels he’s grown as a player.
“Now I have the experience of the Bundesliga, so I know a bit what I need to do. It’s not like when I first came at 23 years old, and I didn’t know anything about the competition.”
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