West Ham have recently confirmed the signing of the Czech Republic Centre Defensive Midfielder Tomas Soucek on loan until the end of the season with an option to make the transfer permanent in the summer for roughly £13 million.
Soucek is a physical presence who should fit in nicely next to Declan Rice in the heart of midfield, this is a position that the Hammers have been looking to strengthen for ages as Mark Noble simply can’t play every game at his age.
The Czech is 6,4 meaning that he is a huge threat from corners and an aerial presence in the middle of the park, he naturally dominates the ball in the air leaving opponents motionless or on their heels due to his immense anticipation, reach and timing. He can in this sense be compared to prime Marouane Fellaini (much to Moyes’s delight.)
On top of this, Soucek has built his game on anticipation, often finding himself in the correct position to break up play or steal the ball from the advancing attacker. This is where his partnership with Declan Rice could really thrive.
Rice, although an elite young player who is destined to go to the very top, sometimes finds himself ever so slightly out of position meaning it’s easier for the advancing player to slip a ball past him or maneuver themself into a more advanced position. Soucek’s immense positional awareness and anticipation paired with Rice’s quality tackling could make for a solid partnership that is exactly what West Ham have been crying out for in recent times.
Soucek also has an eye for a pass, he can hit a precise diagonal ball which could bring the likes of Antonio and Anderson into play when West Ham are trapped in their own half. He has also been known to roam forward himself, sometimes arriving late in the box. He is no stranger to a goal and has already scored 12 goals this season in all competitions (2 of those coming in the Champions League).
The Czech international is only 24 so could be an important part of West Ham’s team for years to come if they choose to make his loan permanent in the summer. He isn’t the fastest but does cover an awful lot of ground every game which is something that West Ham need in a Noble replacement.