West Ham have picked up 10 points from a possible 15 in the Premier League after Declan Rice moved for Arsenal in July for a fee of £105 million.
West Ham’s Vladimir Coufal: A Stronger Squad Post-Declan Rice Era
In a surprising turn of events, West Ham’s Vladimir Coufal recently expressed his belief that the Hammers have actually become “stronger” since the departure of Declan Rice to Arsenal just two months ago. Rice, who had been a stalwart for West Ham, captained the team to their historic Europa Conference League victory over Fiorentina in June, marking the club’s first major trophy in 43 years. However, with 245 appearances and 15 goals for the club, the 24-year-old English international decided to make a record-breaking move to Arsenal for a hefty £105 million transfer fee.
Instead of making a single marquee signing, West Ham opted to reinvest the substantial funds generated from Rice’s sale to bolster the entire squad. The arrivals of Edson Alvarez, James Ward-Prowse, Mohammed Kudus, and Konstantinos Mavropanos in the summer added up to a combined £118 million investment.
Despite the loss of Rice, West Ham, under the guidance of manager David Moyes, has started the Premier League season impressively, securing 10 points out of a possible 15. Their sole defeat came against Manchester City, but they notched victories against Chelsea, Brighton, and Luton.
When questioned about West Ham’s summer transfer business, Coufal confidently stated to the Evening Standard, “We are not weaker without Dec; we are stronger.” He praised the new signings, especially the unexpected contributions of James Ward-Prowse, who already has two goals and three assists, surpassing his scoring record at Southampton.
Coufal also had high praise for Mohammed Kudus, describing him as a versatile and gifted player who brings power, strength, technique, and skill to the team. With Rice no longer bearing sole responsibility, West Ham has embraced a more collective approach, which Coufal finds appealing.
Reflecting on the team’s European aspirations, Coufal recalled their previous journey to the Europa League semi-final two years ago, where they were defeated by Frankfurt. He thought it might have been their last chance to reach a European final. However, the Hammers made it to one last year and believe they can replicate that success this year, fueling their ambition.
Manager David Moyes echoed Coufal’s sentiments, emphasizing their efforts to build a stronger overall squad. The competition within the team has increased, creating a confident and motivated atmosphere stemming from their victories and strong performances.
As West Ham embarks on their European adventure once again, facing Backa Topola in the Europa League, it seems that the departure of Declan Rice has not weakened their resolve but rather invigorated their spirit as they strive for further success in the 2023 season.