West Ham’s long pursuit of a midfield signing has now ended. While they did draw links with Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham for a brief while, but the signing of Tomas Soucek dispelled those rumours. With Hull City midfielder Jarrod Bowen also being eyed, it could turn to be a window that Hammers fans would have taken in their stride.
Soucek though is the more interesting one out of them. That isn’t a name too many Hammers fans would have recognised before he came to the club. But the 24-year-old is being seen as the solution to their problems in midfield.
A defensive midfielder by trade, Soucek is already a well-capped Czech Republic international. That is, perhaps, how many fans would have heard his name before. The England national team indeed took on the Czechs twice before qualifying for the European Championships of 2020.
Indeed, he has made 25 appearances for his national team. He had played the full 90 minutes of the games against the Three Lions, having played regularly for the country in defensive midfield. He has a tally of three goals as well.
He was a regular for Slavia Prague over the years too. This season, he made 26 appearances in all competitions for the club. Strangely enough, he had a tally of 12 goals and three assists. In the UEFA Champions League, he scored a goal each against Inter and Borussia Dortmund.
Against Dortmund, he was very impressive for the Czech side. He won all four his tackles in midfield, boasting of a 100 percent accuracy. He won two aerial duels, also completing one dribble. Not just that, but he also came up with three key passes.
He was key against the nerazzurri at the San Siro too. The midfielder won as many as nine aerial duels, with six interceptions also coming in there. He also won two tackles and was one of their best players on the day.
Slavia were known for attacking and a high-pressing brand of football. That had a role to play in Soucek scoring goals. Even in the 2018-19 season, he had contributed to 15 goals– a sign of how playing in this way has made his output look very high.
And otherwise, he is someone who adds venom and fight to the midfield. He’s very good in the air and likes to win the ball back. His numbers show that he good at carrying the ball and creating goals as well.
As things stand, Declan Rice and Mark Noble are West Ham’s only reliable options in midfield. Carlos Sanchez hasn’t been used, while Pablo Fornals and Manuel Lanzini are more of those attacking midfield players. That lack of depth has seen Rice play 24 Premier League games, with Noble playing 21 of them so far.
While Rice has been criticised for having an average season, West Ham have no one who can do a job to keep the youngster away from the firing line. And Noble isn’t getting any younger with every passing day, leaving the midfield area as the main problem.
Soucek fills that gap perfectly. Despite being a defensive midfielder, he’s a complete outlet in that part of the pitch. He can perform two roles and help the side do both the things. If all things go to plan, he can be crucial in helping the club avoid relegation.