Scouting Report: Matej Vydra

June 27, 2013 in Championship, Transfers

With the transfer merry go round in full swing, the latest rumours to be doing the rounds, not only at my club, Sunderland, but a bunch of other Premier League clubs, concerns Matej Vydra. The current Udinese man has become hot property in light of his success in the Championship last year. His goal scoring exploits earned him the title of Championship player of the year, as well as getting the Hornets to within touching distance of the Premier League. A loss in the play-off final to Crystal Palace, although heartbreaking, will be deemed a good season overall for Gianfranco Zola’s young side. However, despite seeming happy during his time at Watford, Vydra and his agent see bigger things next season. Watford’s play-off loss will most likely be another team’s gain.

MatejVydra

Despite the Watford and Udinese owners’ assertion that Vydra would remain a Watford player next year, Vydra’s agent was quick to put a dampener on things. Quotes leaked out at the beginning of June reporting that Vydra would only be interested in playing “with the top players on the top level.” It seems that both player and agent have got their way. Sunderland, Swansea, West Ham and West Brom are, according to various reports, all in for the striker this summer, while Tottenham saw a bid rejected in January.

So what can his new club expect from the Czech international?

Well, for one thing, goals are a given, and that isn’t the worst place to start for any striker. His record of 22 goals last season is a good indication of his ability to find the target. He was, for most of the season, a deadly finisher. His double away at Brighton in December are perfect examples of cool finishing. He also has frightening pace and makes runs off the back of his opponents’ defence. A number of his goals came from one vs one situations which had been made by breaking away from the defenders. In this way, he is a lot like Jermain Defoe. Vydra also works well in tight situations, he has good close control, and likes to play the ball short to midfielders before spinning to receive the second ball. Despite cutting such a small figure, he is also good at holding off challenges, picking up a lot of free-kicks in and around the box.

However, more will be expected of him in the Premier League. Despite the good stats, Vydra’s form dropped dramatically after February. With only two goals coming after the beginning of March (it should be mentioned that both of those were spectacular efforts against Leicester to get Watford into the play-off final), there were many Watford fans who were saddened by his inclusion over Fernando Forrestieri in the starting line-up at Wembley. To balance this, though, it needs to be taken into account that for the 21 year-old, this was his first full professional season haivng suffered a string of injuries in his early career, and it is perhaps understandable that he wasn’t able to keep up his goalscoring as a result. It is also important to show how frightening his purple patch was. Between the ends of December and January, Vydra scored 10 goals in 6 games; there were 5 braces in 5 games with only an 11-minute cameo at home to Charlton breaking his streak.

The other sticking point with the transfer may be Udinese’s valuation of the player. A bid well in the region of 7 figures was knocked back from Tottenham in January, and the Pozzos are keen to get Vydra and Watford to the Premier League together. The mooted loan move to Sunderland certainly won’t be effective. However, if a deal can be met with a Premier League side, Vydra will be a real danger to goal nets up and down the country next year.

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