West Ham United: Vladimir Coufal reveals he's turned down move to Bayer Leverkusen
By James Murray
West Ham defender Vladimir Coufal has revealed that he turned down a move to Bayer Leverkusen in January.
The Czech Republic right-back has been a consistent performer for the Hammers since signing from Slavia Prague in 2020, having made 107 appearances for the club.
After being left on the bench for a number of games towards the end of 2022, the 30-year-old returned to the fold earlier this year and played an important role in helping his side avoid relegation and reach the Europa Conference League final in his home country.
That might not have been the case had Coufal decided to leave the London Stadium when Bayer Leverkusen came calling, but he decided to remain in East London despite holding talks with the German giants.
Speaking to Football.London ahead of the Europa Conference League final, Coufal said: “It was a tough time for me because everyone wants to be on the pitch and I’m no exception.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
“If I feel I’m not needed, I wanted to move. But it wasn’t at the stage I should move. I spoke to the manager early after the break and he told me some stuff, it was right for me, so I decided not to push for a move and I think it was a great decision.
“I had a really good second part of the season, except for my injuries. Hopefully, the season will end up with a trophy.”
“My intention wasn’t to leave the club, I just want to be on the pitch. I love to be here, I love to play at the London Stadium. When you put it like this, it was a great decision to stay here at the club and to lift the trophy could be perfect for me, for all of West Ham. Now we can imagine how it’s going to be when we win.”
West Ham’s fortunes have turned around dramatically since Coufal and his compatriot Tomas Soucek arrived at the club, having qualified for European football in both of the full seasons the pair have spent at the London Stadium.
There was a time towards the back of last year when the Czech wasn’t featuring as much as he would’ve liked, but he showed great character to come back and prove his worth by starting in 17 of the last 23 Premier League games.
His reliability, tireless enthusiasm and love for a tackle has really endeared him to Hammers fans over the past few years and he would’ve been a big loss to the club had he left in January.
It’s clear he loves being at West Ham as much as we have grown to love having him around the place, so it would be great to see his loyalty be rewarded by winning the Europa Conference League in his homeland.