Let’s get one thing straight before I go into more depth on their value to our team, I absolutely love Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal, or as they’re collectively and affectionately known, our Czech mates. Both seem like great lads and both have been great additions to the side and proved to be value for money.
If they were both to leave tomorrow, I am sure West Ham fans will look back with fond memories of both. Their overall contribution to the team and whether they should be starters this season, let alone the next two, is debatable.
Coufal has started to add more assists to his game this season and has been solid, but you cannot get away from the fact that he is 31 and his pace against speedy wingers always comes into question. Whether he can manage another year as our first choice right back is open to debate. The ability of either Ben Johnson or Thilo Kehrer to reclaim that position as their own seems unlikely too.
I would try and get Johnson to sign a new deal to keep him at the club but would only have him as a squad player at the moment. Kehrer hasn’t had much of a chance to show what he can do this season and with the club working on a restricted budget this January that will be complemented by any player sales, his time at the club could be drawing to a close too.
On the whole that would signal a disappointing end to his time at the club. I was excited when he signed from top French side PSG but whilst he has had some good moments, on the whole he hasn’t been able to hold down a regular starting point.
This now leads me on to our most recent new captain and Coufal’s best mate Tomas Soucek. Now anyone who listens regularly to our flagship podcast show on our Patreon will know I have a constant battle about Tomas Soucek.
Dave, my cohost, does a very good impression of our former Hammer of the year. So whenever I criticise him it is like I am doing it to the man himself. This seems a ridiculous time to bring up his long term value to the team when he has scored a number of last minute winners which have been massive in our recent success.
Goals win games, of course, but it does mean that other players are not playing as well whilst we accommodate Soucek into the side. Whilst we all know the power of a goal, is it fair to say he does little else and could be utilised better as a super sub coming on in the second half when searching for goals?
My main issue is that Lucas Paqueta has become an adopted left midfielder/winger and I do not think we are getting the best out of him. Paqueta is a world class player, a Brazilian international, who before his betting allegations was set to join Manchester City therefore outlining the ability he so obviously has.
I also believe that JWP seems to be dropping deeper to allow Soucek to make his runs into the box and this also seems to have seen a decline in the standard of his performances recently. I am also desperate for the club to sign an out-and-out top class forward.
Good research will have to be put into this so we don’t end up with another Haller or Scamacca situation.
I believe we really are that one player away from having a superb team. The player I would put forward as the man who could be the answer is Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke.
Not only does he have an impressive goals return playing in a team that don’t create that many chances but his work rate stats, movement and pace would fit very well in our system. He also has proven he can score in this league and had a good grounding at the start of his career at both Chelsea and Liverpool.
As well as being at a good age he is also home grown which helps with the quotas.
As we come up to the transfer window there is no better place than our Patreon for all the news where we will also be doing a weekly podcast throughout January with SkySports transfer expert Dharmesh Sheth. We also have our last pre match event of the year on December 17 where we celebrate the success of our Academy by having Academy manager Kenny Brown Jnr, under 18s manager Kevin Keen and his assistant manager Mark Philips.