Vladimir Coufal has opened up about his contract situation at West Ham after signing a new three-year in October last year.
In an incredibly candid blog post on a Czech Republic based sports website called Bez Frazi, Coufal decided to tell the story of his footballing career so far, which of course heavily involves his move to the Premier League with West Ham in 2020.
The Czech Republic international hit the ground running in east London and became a hugely important member of the squad that went on to finish sixth in the league and qualify for the Europa League group stages for the first ever time.
It led to many calls for the 30-year-old to earn a new and improved deal, which eventually came towards the end of 2021.
But Coufal, via his online blog post, has admitted that while money has never been a key motivator for his career, he did feel like he was deserving a new and bigger deal, especially as the deal he agreed to sign when he first arrived was significantly low for a Premier League footballer.
He wrote: “I didn’t care about money until the agent had put the West Ham contract in front of me.
“Money was the last thing I cared about. I held a pen in my fingers and just one signature was between me and my dream transfer.
“It was strange: The amount was nice, but I didn’t make much less in Slavia Praha with bonuses included. I was a bit puzzled, but I didn’t hesitate anyway. I signed the papers without a word.
“I began negotiating a better contract this year during the summer. With fans behind my back and a position as one of the team’s leaders, I presented a sure thing to the club’s owner.
“I didn’t give him one chance to doubt my requests. Firstly, even the subs at West Ham have been paid twice as much as me until now. Secondly, the stats were in my favour. No other defender had more assists in the previous season, no other defender had prepared as many goal chances as I did.
“Third and most importantly, they promised me we would get together and talk about new conditions if I deserved it.
“Up until now, I’ve been telling you I’m not in England for money, but I’d be lying to myself if I said I don’t look at my salary. I just don’t care about money right now; I will deal with it after my career.
“My time in England to prove something is limited. The height of my salary is just a reward for how I play and proof of my position in the dressing room.
“That’s why my agents were talking about me leaving before I signed the improved contract.”
It’s a fascinating insight into the mindset of one of West Ham’s most influential and impressive players but it also makes you wonder how little his contract was worth when he first signed from Slavia Prague.
Regardless, Coufal goes on to explain that he wants to remain at West Ham for the foreseeable future but would like to end his career back at Slavia Prague.
“I can imagine returning to Slavia one day. It would be nice to end my career there,” Coufal admitted.
“But I don’t make promises. I want to stay in West Ham for as long as I can.”