Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez
When one of Europe’s most respected coaches is willing to call you personally in a plea to convince you to sign for his club, most players would jump at the chance.
According to L’Equipe, that is exactly the tactic Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez used to entice Utrecht’s gifted forward Sebastian Haller to swap the Eredivisie for Tyneside last summer.
The Spaniard, however, was fighting a losing battle. Haller, a languid, rangy striker blessed with a superb first touch and innate composure in front of goal, decided to remain in Holland for one last season before putting pen to paper with Eintracht Frankfurt earlier this month.
'Is this growth?'
“It could have been an option, but to sign in the Championship, is this growth?” the France youth striker reflected. “The Premier League was a bit premature. I still need to play, to prove myself.
“In my opinion Frankfurt, in terms of style of play, role progression... it’s the perfect choice. It seemed the most logical to continue to progress and have fun.”
The Eredivisie certainly has a chequered past when it comes to exporting strikers to England, with Vincent Janssen the latest to struggle in the face of a tough adaptation period.
Tottenham's Vincent Janssen has just one Premier League goal from open play
Yet, with 44 goals in just two-and-a-half seasons with Utrecht, the 22-year-old Haller is one of the most promising attackers to make his name in Holland in recent seasons.
Therefore, Newcastle will be hoping he does not fulfil his frightening potential at Frankfurt instead.