The Senegalese international made heads turn last season with a number of solid performances for Belgian champions Anderlecht.
Major clubs in both France and Germany were reportedly eyeing his services, but it was West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce who managed to persuade the star to move to East London on a four-year deal.
Described as strong, athletic and powerful in the tackle, the 24-year-old midfielder garnered praise in Belgium as Vieira-esque, and told reporters on joining the Hammers how he hopes he can emulate his idol.
“When I started playing in Belgium, I played 10 matches and people starting comparing me with Vieira. It was an immense pleasure to be compared to such a fantastic player because he was a role model for us Senegalese and an inspiration. Now it is up to me that I deserve the comparison. I know it will be tough,” he is quoted by The Mirror.
Vieira won multiple titles with the Gunners during a nine-year spell before leaving to join Serie A champions Juventus in 2005.
His legacy in the Premier League, however, will remain for a number of years to come as his powerful and athletic style signalled the beginning of a new era for British football.
While West Ham’s new signing Kouyate will certainly be challenged if he wishes to have that sort of impact, helping his new club consolidate themselves in the top half this season would be a more realistic target and one which would endear him to the Upton Park faithful.
Will Cheikhou Kouyate prove to be an astute signing for West Ham this season?