West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes that new signing Cheikhou Kouyate is in a similar mould to former Arsenal idol Patrick Vieira.

The Hammers swooped to bring in the rangy Senegalese star from Anderlecht earlier this summer, beating off long-standing interest from clubs such as the Gunners.

The 24-year-old has long been considered to be one of European football’s most promising young enforcers, shining for the Belgian giants during his 145 showings.

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Although thought of as a centre-back, ‘Big Sam’ utilised his newbie in a holding midfield role for his competitive debut against Tottenham last weekend, in which he impressed despite the 1-0 home loss.

And ahead of today’s clash with Crystal Palace, Allardyce has moved to compare Kouyate to Vieira in his column for the London Evening Standard:

“I can see why Cheikhou Kouyate has already been likened to Patrick Vieira —just look at his size and the way he moves.

“I thought he was our man-of-the-match against Tottenham last week and I, for one, would be delighted if he came close to emulating Patrick’s consistent level of performance.

“It was a brilliant debut and one which you don’t see too often in the Premier League. Normally, when players first come here from abroad, they’re shouting for pure oxygen because they struggle to cope with the sheer intensity of our game.

“Apart from right at the end against Spurs, when he did go down for a rest after yet another run, his fitness was superb — and infectious because the rest of the players will be saying to themselves: “Come on, I’ve got to get up there with him.””

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