West Ham are in a dire situation. 17th in the Premier League table, ahead of Bournemouth and Watford only on goal difference. Inconsistent in attack and leaking goals at the back. The threat of relegation is looming on the London Stadium, a move which has failed to meet expectations for a club that looked like they were on the up a few seasons ago. David Moyes’ appointment might not be enought to save them from the drop. So they’ve targeted Tomas Soucek.
According to the BBC, the Hammers have agreed a £13 million deal to sign the Czech Republic international, who’s in London having a medical. The likelihood is you haven’t heard of Soucek. Not many people I know watch the Czech league regularly. Then again, he has scored twice in the Champions League this season, so the name might ring a bell. Either way, he’s not a well-known player, so allow me to profile him:
Tomas Soucek – Style of Play
Before you even go into depth, the fact Soucek has 8 goals in 17 appearances this season for Slavia despite being considered as a DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER is very impressive. Even before 2019/20, the 24 year old has built up a reputation in his homeland of scoring goals. 18 in all competitions last season, better figures than many strikers manage.
At 6ft 4, Soucek is undoubtedly a dominant physical presence in the centre of the pitch. Perhaps why he gets on the score-sheet so often is because of his ability to dominate the midfield. He’s difficult to push off the ball and can easily drive forward without being bullied off the ball. The video shows the aerial threat he brings from set pieces and any have decent ball into the box. Good luck marking this giant in the box.
The Slavia Prague youth product is also technically very sound. Despite what you would expect with his height and stature, he has finesse to his game. Averaging 1 key pass and a staggering 4.5 long balls per game in the Champions League this season, Soucek is an accomplished passer of the ball. Some of the crosses and assists he makes in the video highlight.
His technical skill extends further than being a playmaker too. The video shows the quality of some of the goals he has scored. Either driving it into the far corners in the box or beating the keeper from range, Soucek is a goal threat, even with his position. How he averages 2.3 shots per game from midfield, I don’t know. I’d go as far to say he’s box to box with how good he is on the ball and how often he’s in the final third. The 24 year old even takes penalties. What can’t he do?
You’re probably thinking that with how much he adds to the attack, surely the defensive side to his game suffers? Not at all. Though the video doesn’t showcase it, the Czech international is a defensive midfielder by trade. Averaging an outstanding 2.5 tackles and interceptions per game in the UCL, he clearly reads the game well. Then coupled with his physical attributes, it’s an uphill task to get past him. Bear in mind, Slavia were in a group with Barcelona, Dortmund and Inter. The fact he’s performed so well against such tough opposition speaks volumes.
A shrewd signing
The initial reaction to this signing from West Ham fans will probably be underwhelming. Understandable considering on face value, he’s a relatively unknown midfielder from an inferior league.
But when you look into it, Tomas Soucek could be an excellent signing. Not expensive, a machine in midfield and someone who could really make a difference. A signing that will go under the radar no doubt. But could prove to be the difference between top tier English football and the Championship. He has potential to be a future star, whilst also being ready for a step up to a bigger and better league.
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