Having made nearly 150 appearances for West Ham over the last four years, it’s fair to say that Cheikhou Kouyaté is a name that is well known to anyone who regularly watches the Premier League but with Palace having just taken the Senegal international away from the Irons, it felt only right that I spoke to a Hammer to see what we can expect over the course of the 2018/19 campaign.
A huge thank-you to West Ham United Forever (@WHU_Forever on Twitter) for taking the time to speak to us about Cheik.
What’s his playing style?
He is typically is a box-to-box midfielder. In his earlier days at West Ham you would always see him tracking back doing the dirty work but likes getting forward too.
Is he best defensively or in an attacking role?
He is definitely more defensive. He can also do a job at centre-back if called upon.
Does he offer a goal threat?
He has notched a couple for us, mostly from set-pieces. I wouldn’t say he is a goal threat, but is someone who is capable of getting onto the end of a free-kick or a corner from time to time.
What is his weakest attribute?
He has become incredibly lazy since the move to The London Stadium. During his first year with us, he was always tracking back and then pushing forward but over the last year especially, he cost us points by just watching the game happen in front of him, letting his runners go while strolling around the pitch outside our own box.
What is his strongest attribute?
If you can get the old Kouyaté out, his stand-out attribute is undoubtedly his strength. He can defend the ball incredibly well and is more than capable of winning it back in almost any situation.
Is he a character?
His character is the thing I’ll miss the most. He is extremely funny to watch. There are videos of him laughing and joking in training, and singing songs out loud at our Player of the Year awards a couple of years ago. He will fit right in anywhere he goes and seems to be a real genuine bloke, a top man.
We had plenty of injuries last season, what’s his record like?
He has had a few spells on the sidelines but they’ve been few and far between. His wrist has been bandaged up for as long as I can remember after he did hurt that but he’s played through it happily.
Are you sad to see him go?
I personally am sad to see him go but think it was the right move for both parties. He has lost a lot of form, as we are looking to strengthen and completely re-jig our squad, with Kouyaté unfortunately becoming a passenger. I think a new club will do wonders for him and on his day, he would slot into any team outside the top 6.
Good like Cheik!