West Ham United desperately needed reinforcements in January as the club was deep in the fight for survival in the Premier League.
Fans were expecting big names to come and help out their team, so the loan signing of Tomas Soucek from Czech outfit Slavia Prague went completely under the radar.
Soucek had impressed in his home country and he was even nominated for Player of the Year there but it wasn’t clear whether he has the attributes to succeed in football’s most challenging domestic competition.
However, the 25-year-old has taken the league by storm and has been one of the key in the Hammers’ successful bid to keep hold of their EPL status.
This has triggered a clause in his loan contract and it now seems that West Ham will be keeping Soucek in the long run.
But how good is the Czech midfielder exactly?
I try to answer this question below by looking at the player’s strengths and sharing my thoughts on how far he can go in his football career.
Tomas Soucek Player Profile
The most successful Czech midfielders in history have all been naturally-gifted playmakers with good vision and incisive decision-making.
The 90s brought about the rise of players such as Karel Poborsky and Pavel Nedved who were among the best number 10s in their day.
The following decade saw Tomas Rosicky emerge from Sparta Prague’s youth system and he subsequently had a very successful career with Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal, before returning to his boyhood club and retiring back in 2017.
Tomas Soucek, however, is a very different type of player.
Standing at 1.96m, he is a powerhouse of a midfielder with good defensive awareness and a very solid offensive arsenal.
For his height, he is relatively quick and his no-nonsense approach is an absolute gift for his teammates.
He is also highly energetic and has been one of the hardest workers in this West Ham United team.
Overall, Soucek looks like someone who has everything in his locker, and his desire to do well in every position he is deployed in is quite rare to find these days.
Can Tomas Soucek Make It to the Top?
The days of the Czech Republic reaching the latter stages of the big international tournaments look a long way behind right now but I feel their famed youth system has brought up yet another talent that can surely turn into a world-class performer.
Soucek has adapted to the Premier League quite easily and his physical presence and sharp football mind have made him an absolute revelation.
West Ham will be chuffed to have unearthed this gem as even if they don’t hold on to the Cezch midfielder for long, he is bound to command a very high transfer fee in the future.
I quite like the fact that players of this frame and ability are in fashion once again as they spent the last decade overshadowed by quick and robust midfielders like Lucas Torreira and N’Golo Kante.
And although these two are one of the best at what they do, Soucek brings something extra.
His massive presence coupled with his above-average ball control skills, elite tackling, and great vision on the pitch, can make him basically unplayable if the player reaches the level of confidence needed to be a key piece on an elite squad.
To put it simply, the sky is the limit for the 25-year-old who is currently gaining valuable experience alongside Premier League veterans like Mark Noble and Jack Wilshere.
He seems to have the right mindset and application and this could go a long way in the modern game.
I have to say, well done to West Ham for taking a gamble here and I’m sure it’s going to pay off, in the long run, one way or another.