Sébastien Haller’s story with Borussia Dortmund has been etched with lines of struggle, sacrifice, perseverance, joy and dismay all at once. It was initially marred by the sudden cancer diagnosis he had to overcome during the course of the first half of last season. The player was thankfully able to beat the disease and return to the pitch in January for the club to the delight and relief of the football community.
Haller’s strength and perseverance continued into the second half of last season, where despite having been through hell and back to beat such an accursed disease, he did his best to make his mark for Dortmund that season by leading the line admirably, scoring and assisting goals in the process. The season would not end in the fairytale we all hoped for however, as Dortmund failed to win the title on the final match day of the season with that dismal draw against Mainz. It was a result that particularly strung for Haller, who missed a penalty in the first half of the encounter.
Of course, for a player in Haller’s situation, simply the fact that he had returned to the pitch when he did for Dortmund was a miracle in itself. Treatment of his disease surely had a massive effect on his overall health and fitness, and for the player to fight his way back onto the field as he did is nothing short of extraordinary. It has become quite clear however that Haller is still suffering from his experience and treatment to some degree this season, as coming into the 2023/24 campaign, the Ivorian international has suffered a massive drop in form; a drop in form that has begun to worry the club from a sporting standpoint.
In recent days, rumors initially sprung up indicated that there was interest from Turkish side Beşiktaş indicating that they had supposedly enquired about a loan for the player. This news has since been stifled by the German media, which has called such rumors “nonsense”. The suggestion of such a deal does bring up the question as to whether such a move would make sense, however.
At face value, perhaps keeping Haller in Dortmund as an option for depth makes sense; injuries may see head coach Edin Terzić have need of the player's services in the second half of the season. That being said, to this point, Terzić hasn’t given any indication that he really wants to play anyone but Niclas Füllkrug up top (an issue in itself as players do need to rest every now and then) which means you have not one, but two strikers (Haller and Youssoufa Moukoko) sitting and waiting for minutes that never come, barring a few minutes here and there at the end of matches.
For a player like Haller, match fitness includes playing additional minutes, and while playing in the Bundesliga might come as difficult for him now, perhaps a move to a less intense league could allow Haller the opportunity to re-discover his form and improve his fitness through consistent match time in a lower-pressure environment. It would be a favorable move for a player who also has AFCON coming up with the Ivory Coast in the not so distant future, and this will significantly tax his energy levels as well.
On the flip side, a loan for Haller opens up room for Moukoko to perhaps obtain more of those “relief minutes” that Terzić has been offering so very little of. Having such a clogged front line in terms of strikers is not conducive to either Moukoko or Haller really getting into their stride this season. Perhaps this would be a good opportunity for all those involved, and an option to pursue if an actual offer were to come Dortmund’s way.