West Ham have completed the signing of Alex Kral on loan from Spartak Moscow, their third arrival in the space of a few days.
The 23-year-old’s move to the London Stadium includes an option to buy at the end of the season, and unites Kral with fellow countrymen Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal.
Hammers boss David Moyes has been a long-term admirer of Kral, with speculation over a possible move first surfacing a number of months ago. He then participated at Euro 2020 with the Czech Republic, but talk of a move to England died down as West Ham began their preparations for the new season.
A deal has been thrashed out before the transfer deadline, however, and Kral joins fellow new recruits Kurt Zouma and Nikola Vlasic in the West Ham arrivals lounge.
David Moyes said on the signing: “I am delighted to welcome Alex to West Ham United. He will provide good competition in the centre of midfield. He is another young, talented player who we feel has a big potential and will be capable of adapting to the demands of the Premier League.
“We’ve brought him in on loan initially and, hopefully, over the course of the season he will make a valuable contribution, particularly with our busier schedule of fixtures.
“Alex is another established international player with the Czech Republic, and we hope he has similar characteristics and hunger to that of Tomas and Vladimir.”
Kral is a tough tackling central midfielder who will add plenty of steel to a West Ham midfield that faces a relentless run of fixtures this season.
Moyes is leading his charges into the Europa League group stages for the first time, and they have every chance of qualifying for the knockout stages after being paired with Dinamo Zagreb, Genk and Rapid Wien. But there has long been a feeling that Soucek and Declan Rice need their workloads lightened, and that’s something Kral’s signing should allow the boss more opportunities to rotate.
Kral will also enhance West Ham’s threat from set pieces. Standing 6’1, the Czech is not a prolific goalscorer, but adds further height to a Hammers side who often look dangerous when crosses are pumped into the box.