Has Coufal’s Euro 2024 exploits put his West Ham career in jeopardy?

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31-year-old Czech full back, Vladimir Coufal, is reported to have been frustrated at his inability to reach a mutual agreement on a new long-term contract with West Ham. The Hammers activated a new 12-month extension to his contract in January, but no long-term deal has since been agreed, with Coufal a free agent this time next year.

Under former boss David Moyes, Coufal was a first team regular. Moyes was keen to tie him down to a new long-term deal, but new boss Julen Lopetegui may have other ideas on Coufal. His performances to date at Euro 2024 will have certainly caused some confusion in East London.

A deeper look at Coufal’s performance Vs Portugal for Czechia

Coufal was the chief creator of Czechia’s opening goal against Portugal, crossing for Lukas Provod to break the deadlock. However, the right wing back’s analytics from the same game look eye-wateringly bad despite grabbing an assist to his name. Portugal went on to take the win in their opening group game, with the Portuguese fast becoming one of the dark horses to win the competition. According to the latest bet365 Euro 2024 odds, Portugal are priced as the 6/1 fifth favourites to lift the trophy for a second time in three championships.

Having played the entire 90 minutes, Coufal’s in-game data can be scrutinised properly, since he wasn’t a late second-half sub. His passing accuracy weighed in at a meagre 46% according to FotMob, while none of Coufal’s dribbles were completed, potentially putting pressure on the Czech backline.

The one encouraging statistic was the seven passes completed in the final third. However, only 20% of his crosses into the Portugal box were described as “accurate” and it was a similar statistic for his long passes. All of which questions the consistency of his end product, which will be a huge question mark over his name as prepares to turn 32 in August.

Coufal has always been considered a fierce competitor. He won two of the three tackles attempted against the Portuguese, but he did lose possession three times and won less than half (44%) of his ground duels. He also won none of his aerial duels which contrives to create quite the conundrum for the West Ham recruitment department.

According to more data from FBref, Coufal was in the last 28% of tackling full-backs across the biggest five leagues in Europe. Any data-driven club will struggle to find a case to sign Coufal from West Ham this summer on this evidence.

Do United need to recruit two right backs this summer?

Right back looks set to become a problem area for Lopetegui to deal with, especially with Coufal’s future up in the air and homegrown defender Ben Johnson, looking increasingly unlikely to stay at the London Stadium.

Over the last couple of seasons, Johnson has failed to nail down a regular starting berth in the West Ham side. He made 14 appearances in the Premier League last term and 17 appearances in the season before that. Johnson’s contract is up this summer and despite the Hammers offering him a new five-year deal he’s reportedly looking at his options away from the London Stadium. Newly promoted Ipswich Town are said to be coveting his signature, along with London rivals, Crystal Palace.

The fact that United offered Johnson a new five-year contract suggests they certainly value his potential. He’s also proven himself to be very adept at left back, so to have a full back capable of covering both flanks is a big boost for any Premier League squad. Nevertheless, from a career progression perspective, you can understand why Johnson may decide the time is right to move on and find himself a new home where can play week in, week out.

With both Coufal and Johnson potentially looking for new long-term deals elsewhere, Lopetegui will also have his eye on new recruits at right back. However, with a reported £100m transfer budget for the Spaniard to spend this summer, he’ll need to spend wisely if he’s to solve the many other issues throughout the West Ham squad.

Losing Johnson means United will likely need to spend a portion of that budget in a position they thought was likely to be locked down for 2024/25 at the very least. United may be prepared to sell Coufal and recoup some money to reinvest in a new long-term right back option.

Gamble responsibly.

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