West Ham fans wouldn’t have thought much of Tomáš Souček’s goal-scoring ability when he arrived in England’s capital on a four-year deal from Slavia Prague. That’s not to say that the Czech Republic international was a slouch in front of the goal, far from it, in fact, as 40 goals in 158 games for Slavia Prague attests to. Rather, the concern was that he was a defensive midfielder, and crucially above all, this was the English Premier League.
In other words, Souček could kiss his goal-scoring days goodbye and instead slip quietly into midfield. The player’s job would now be to help West Ham in their fight to avoid conceding any more goals and with any luck, the Hammers would avoid relegation. How times and expectations change.
Indeed, Souček has now played a total of 58 games for West Ham and helped them qualify for the Europa League last season after David Moyes’ men finished in an incredible sixth position. All things being equal, at one stage it looked as if Souček and his teammates would be competing in the Champions League, but sadly Liverpool took maximum points from their last five games and beat them to it.
Still, it was a phenomenal achievement from the club and revealingly, it doesn’t feel like a one-off either. Tellingly, the Hammers are predicted to give the Europa League qualification positions a good run after being priced at just 11/4 in the latest Premier League outright betting markets to gatecrash the top six yet again. It really is a testament to how far this side has come under Moyes’ direction, but Souček’s involvement and the sudden upturn in fortunes at the London Stadium is certainly no coincidence.
Remarkably, Souček has managed to score 14 times in his 58 games for West Ham, which works out to a goal every four games from midfield. Additionally, no other player for the club scored more goals than Souček during the 2020/2021 campaign.
It was an astonishing return in his debut season and he looks to have carried that prolific form into this season, having netted once in the first four games; his exact goal-to-games ratio from last season. With this in mind, you can understand why the West Ham fans have taken to their Czech star so quickly and why he’s on his way to becoming a Premier League great should he keep this level of performance up.
Unsurprisingly, opposition clubs are beginning to circle the Czech sensation, but West Ham holds all the cards with the 26-year-old contracted to the club until 2024. The powers that be at West Ham will be desperate for Souček to extend his stay at the London Stadium and carry on his dream start to life with the Hammers.
In reality, it’s very rare for players to become cult heroes after just one season at a club. Souček’s wizardry in midfield, however, and knack of being in the right place at the right time has put the foundations in place for him to be one of West Ham’s greatest signings in the Premier League era.