West Ham United defender Vladimir Coufal could be set to leave the London Stadium in the summer transfer window.
That’s according to a claim made by Paddy Kenny, with the former Premier League goalkeeper revealing in a recent interview with Football Insider that, following West Ham handing Ben Johnson a two-year contract extension last week, the Czech Republic international could look to secure a move away from East London this summer – should he believe he will be David Moyes’ number two in the position next season.
Speaking about the 29-year-old’s future at West Ham, Kenny said: “He’s an unbelievable player who might be losing his place. West Ham clearly believe this young lad is going to be the future.
“It’s a long season so there will be plenty of chances for the both of them to play. If Moyes starts picking Johnson over Coufal then Coufal might just think about leaving.
“He probably has another big move in him and he won’t want to spend the next few years on the bench. West Ham have to make a choice about who their number one right-back is. If Coufal thinks he’s number two he will be off and he will definitely be able to find a move.”
Despite Coufal having suffered a dip in form in recent weeks, generally speaking, since his £5m move to the London Stadium back in the summer of 2020, the defender has proven an extremely astute signing by the Hammers.
Indeed, over his 34 Premier League appearances last season, the £12.5m-rated right-back was in remarkable form for the Irons, helping his side keep nine clean sheets, registering seven assists and creating nine big chances for his teammates, as well as making an average of 1.4 key passes, 1.2 interceptions, 2.1 tackles, 2.6 clearances and winning 5.1 duels per game.
However, when considering that, over his 13 Premier League outings in the current campaign, the 22-year-old Johnson has outperformed the 29-year-old – with the youngster averaging a SofaScore match rating of 6.97, in comparison to Coufal’s 6.81 – it would indeed appear as if the £6m-rated academy graduate will naturally become West Ham’s first choice in the position next season.
And, with a prospect as talented as the 20-year-old Harrison Ashby also having broken into the West Ham first-team squad this season, largely as a result of highly impressing for the club’s U23 side – having scored three goals and registered five assists over 19 appearances – it would seem as if Moyes is not lacking in depth on the right of his backline.
Indeed, West Ham podcaster Sam Delaney clearly believes that the Scotland U21 international has an extremely bright future in the game, stating of the £270k-rated youngster: “He’s big as well. He’s like a big unit. He’s only young, but he’s like a giant. Usually, you’re used to seeing smaller players in those wing-back positions, but he looked big, strong, he was very fearless, decent on the ball.”
As such, while Coufal is undoubtedly a fine option at right-back, should the 26-time capped international indeed push for a move away from East London this summer, it could well be wise for Moyes to cash in on the defender while his stock is high and subsequently unleash the highly-rated Ashby in his place.