Type the name ‘Alex Kral’ into Twitter and we absolutely guarantee if you scroll far enough you’ll find something linking him with a move to every single Premier League club at one time or another.
The Spartak Moscow midfielder is rumoured to be courting more than his fare share of sides in England’s top flight including West Ham, Wolves, Leeds and Newcastle, with a £30m valuation doing little to detract potential suitors from the chase.
So we know who wants to buy him, now to the next question. Who the hell is he?
Lofty fees are nothing new in modern day football, but £30m for a player who – let’s be honest – you’ve never heard of, seems a bit mad. Here’s everything you need to know about the man who could well be headed for these shores in the near future.
Transfer fees in football are bit mad and you can end up paying double for a player after just a few impressive performances, but for a player’s value to go from £800,000 to £30m in just two years – that’s pretty impressive.
Slavia Prague were the lucky club who captured Kral from fellow Czech side Teplice back in January 2019, though they sold him after just eight months at the club, with Spartak Moscow paying £12m for the midfielder.
Even that’s a pretty hefty mark-up in such a short period of time, but just 18 months on and it looks like they’re set to more than double their investment.
The 22-year-old has made a name for himself as a midfielder who can work box-to-box or sit and shield the backline.
However, he hasn’t always been a midfielder – he originally started out as a defender and was pushed into midfield when his evident footballing ability started to become clear.
Given the fact he can play a number of different roles in midfield and could probably slot back into defence were it absolutely necessary, Kral could be a great buy for a side looking to add both quality and depth to their squad.
Alright, so this is getting a bit more interesting.
More often than not in football it’s not a case of what you know but who you know, and West Ham will be quietly confident of landing the Czech international given his connections to those within the club.
Kral is represented by an agency called K2K, the same company that helped broker a deal with West Ham which saw Vladimír Coufal arrive at the London Stadium last year.
Not only that, the Hammers have a strong Czech contingency at the club with the aforementioned Coufal and Tomas Soucek, so they could be in a good position should they choose to pursue the youngster.
Having only joined Spartak Moscow in September 2019, Kral was immediately linked with a move to the Premier League following a solid showing for the Czech Republic against England.
Burnley were rumoured to be interesting in the midfielder, however, having represented his former club Slavia Prague at the start of the 2019/20 campaign before moving to Spartak Moscow, Kral had already played for two clubs prior to the Clarets’ interest, meaning he wasn’t eligible to play for a third team in one season.
Whether it was this that cooled Burnley’s interest or not we’ll never know. Still, decent bit of info.
Back in 2017, Kral was a part of the Czech Republic squad that travelled to Georgia for the Under-19 European Championship finals.
His stellar performances saw him named in the team of the tournament alongside the likes of Ryan Sessegnon, Mason Mount and Diogo Dalot.
The Czech Republic made it through the group stages having finished runners up in Group A behind Portugal, though they were beaten 1-0 by eventual winners England at the semi-final stage.