West Ham United star Tomas Soucek has revealed he ‘immediately refused’ when Saudi clubs came calling to try and land him, while also naming the team he would ideally like to join next.
The Saudi Pro League has expanded hugely in the last 12 months, signing big-name stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Neymar, Sadio Mane and N’Golo Kante. They want to make the competition one of the biggest and best in the world, rivalling top divisions such as the Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga. Although, Jordan Henderson leaving and Benzema wanting to follow him out has shown the grass is not always greener.
As part of their attempt to increase the quality and profile of the Saudi top flight, officials in the Middle East have made contact with Soucek and his entourage to discuss a potential move.
But the central midfielder swiftly rejected the proposal. During an interview with Sport in his native Czech Republic, he has explained why, in addition to naming the club he wants to sign for after West Ham.
“I immediately refused. A lot of people asked why but this is just not for me. Neither America nor China,” he said.
“I would rather return to the Czech league. If it was Slavia [Prague], it would be an even bigger plus.”
The 28-year-old is someone who seems to play for the love of the game, rather than for money. As such, it is understandable that he wants to continue playing at the highest level and help West Ham potentially win more trophies, rather than move to Saudi Arabia for a huge pay day.
It also makes sense that Soucek wants to join Slavia Prague when he eventually opts to end his West Ham spell. The Czech star came through the ranks at Slavia and made 158 appearances in their first team before leaving for West Ham in January 2020.
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Soucek wants to spend several more years in East London before eventually returning to Slavia and ending his career there.
Soucek has established himself as an important player for the Irons since arriving on an initial loan deal four years ago. He has managed eight goals and one assist while playing in all but one of West Ham’s games this season. David Moyes loves the all-action midfielder and even named him captain for the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on December 3.
At the start of January, West Ham rewarded Soucek for his great performances this campaign with a new long-term contract that runs until June 2027.
The player will be hoping to add to his goal tally when Moyes’ side come up against Bournemouth in the Premier League on Thursday at 19:30.