West Ham United absolutely shouldn’t be handing out a new contract to Tomas Soucek, with his current deal set to expire in the summer of 2024.
The central midfielder, who turned 28 at the end of last month, joined West Ham from Slavia Prague initially on loan in January 2020. Soucek then made his move to the London Stadium a permanent one for around £15 million just six months later (Daily Mail).
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The Hammers actually have an option to extend the 56-capped Czech Republic international’s current deal by a further 12 months. Just a couple of years ago, that would have seemed like a mere formality with the ex-Slavia Prague ace’s fine form playing a key role in our sixth placed Premier League finish…but not any more.
Soucek has regressed badly for West Ham since midway through last season in all fairness. David Moyes mixed things up and moved him into more of a defensive role – something that completely stunted him as a player. Meanwhile, Declan Rice was moved into a more advanced role.
Looking back on it, that decision from Moyes was absolute madness. It made us worse as a team and negated both players’ biggest strengths. In fairness to the Scot, he has moved to change things back to normal this season. Unfortunately though, it took him far too long to do that, despite people calling for the change for months and months.
It is a real shame that it took him so long to make that decision, especially for Soucek. He looks completely done at this level and West Ham need to make a big decision on him…
West Ham have to make a bold Tomas Soucek decision
Rather than offer the Czech midfielder a new deal, the Hammers need to be ruthless here and try to sell him in the summer. There’s no point throwing good money after bad is there? It’s time for the club to really move on from the 28-year-old, if we truly want to change our playing style.
I love Soucek as a person. He’s a lovely bloke and always gives 100% per cent when he plays. The problem is that he’s totally out of his depth in the Premier League. He’s been rumbled and his lack of ability on the ball is now starting to really cost us as a team.
His performance against Aston Villa on Sunday was the tipping point as far as I’m concerned. He had just 21 touches of the football – unheard of for a central midfielder in the Premier League. Soucek made only 13 passes and completed just 69% of them (Who Scored). Surely that’s an all-time low for a central midfielder in England’s top flight!
If Moyes wants to make genuine progress at West Ham he needs to ditch Soucek now and play with a midfield three of Declan Rice, Lucas Paqueta and one of Pablo Fornals, Manuel Lanzini or Flynn Downes. The worry for us is that we are in a real relegation battle, so Moyes will undoubtedly stick with what he knows.
However, if the Scot is still in the job beyond the end of this season, he absolutely has to move Soucek on in the summer transfer window. The Czech midfielder quite simply isn’t anywhere near good enough to be playing Premier League football. Sure, he’s very strong in the air but that’s about it.
West Ham selling Tomas Soucek this summer rather than offering him a new deal may well be extremely ruthless, but it will be the correct decision. The 28-year-old has had great times in a Hammers shirt but there is no room for sentiment at this level of the game.
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