Gianluca Scamacca is turning into Sebastien Haller 2.0 at West Ham

KIERAN GILL: Gianluca Scamacca is fast turning into Sebastien Haller 2.0 at West Ham – the Hammers need goals to survive and David Moyes cannot afford to leave the £35.5m striker rotting among the substitutes

  • Gianluca Scamacca was an unused substitute as West Ham drew with Aston Villa
  • David Moyes said the Italian striker’s ‘physical data’ is not at the level required
  • Scamacca’s situation feels reminiscent of Sebastien Haller’s time at West Ham

A few weeks back, a West Ham source mentioned Gianluca Scamacca’s conduct in training wasn’t impressing his coaches. ‘He’s chucked it,’ claimed the contact.

There was no sugarcoating the situation, though at the time, Scamacca was still working his way back from a knee complaint and could be given the benefit of the doubt.

But since then, he has been an unused substitute in four Premier League games in a row, including Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa which prompted boos at full time.

When Danny Ings was removed after 86 minutes, it wasn’t the only striker sitting on the bench that David Moyes turned to. It was Maxwel Cornet, the winger who is still returning after five months away due to a calf injury.

Scamacca had been sent out to warm up twice. He was fully kitted up, sitting in his West Ham strip on the running track in readiness. Yet he never made it off the bench at the London Stadium and walked down the tunnel at full time, clearly irritated.

Gianluca Scamacca was an unused substitute again as West Ham’s drew 1-1 with Aston Villa

Maxwel Cornet was preferred by David Moyes as a late substitute at the London Stadium 

Moyes said Scamacca’s ‘physical data’ was among the reasons to leave the striker on the bench

Moyes’ reasoning was he thought Cornet would break behind Villa’s defence and he did, albeit he couldn’t time his runs right. Yet the manager said his other reason for snubbing Scamacca in their race against relegation was to do with the £35.5million signing’s ‘physical data’.

Moyes said it is not meeting his requirements and that it is his job to ‘put out the players who you think are going to win for you’. That, apparently, does not include Scamacca, their 24-year-old Italy international.

Of course this is only one side of the story. The other side is Scamacca’s.

He thought he was signing for a club going places last summer. West Ham had just finished seventh in the Premier League and reached the semi-finals of the Europa League. Instead he’s walked into a scrap for survival.

Paris Saint-Germain wanted Scamacca initially where he would have won Ligue 1 at a canter. But West Ham won his signature after agreeing to pay Sassuolo’s valuation. Amid all this, it is understandable why Scamacca may be wondering what might have been.

Scamacca’s situation brings back memories of Sebastien Haller, the striker signed from Eintracht Frankfurt for £45m in 2019 and then sold to Ajax for £20m in 2021.

Scamacca thought he had signed for a club on the up after a successful campaign last season

Sebastien Haller endured a difficult spell under Moyes at West Ham before thriving for Ajax

Scamacca could be a suitable strike partner to Danny Ings in West Ham’s pursuit of goals

Haller has since spoken about how he and Moyes were ‘trapped together’ because he wasn’t the sort of striker for his sort of system. The fear is West Ham are experiencing deja vu with Scamacca.

Yet when West Ham signed Scamacca, they knew what they were getting. They weren’t signing someone to burst in behind back lines. They were purchasing a 6ft 5in centre forward who can meet crosses – which might have been useful in the final few moments of Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Villa – and can link up with his fellow forwards.

Scamacca has looked sharp when on the pitch and could be a suitable strike partner to Ings if Moyes decides two up top is worth trying.

Regardless of what Moyes is seeing in training that he does not like, West Ham need goals if they are to stay in the Premier League. The longer this £35.5m striker is left to rot among the substitutes, the odder it feels.

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