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COMMENT: Why Watford switch should open doors for Matej Vydra next summer
I was made aware of Watford’s hopes of re-signing Matej Vydra several months ago and was always confident it would happen because, simply, it made complete sense for all parties.
When we ran our story at the beginning of May stating the Hornets wanted Vydra back, a few readers accused us of using the striker’s name purely to sell papers and boost our website figures.
His agent’s subsequent claims the player wanted a move to “a top division” in Europe didn’t help when it came to our argument but the story was accurate; Watford wanted Vydra back.
The issue when it came to Vydra was if he wanted to return or if his agent could find him a move to a club in the top flight of one of Europe’s biggest leagues.
After only managing three goals in 25 Premier League appearances for West Bromwich Albion, an offer from the likes of a Premier League or Serie A club appeared unlikely. Don’t get me wrong, a host of big clubs would happily take Vydra if the price was right but the Pozzos’ whole business model is to sell at the optimum price. So now was definitely not the time to sell.
So it left Vydra, and his agent, with a couple of options if they were unable to find another club. Ask to stay at Udinese or go to Watford.
Antonio Di Natale’s decision not to retire this summer means Udinese still have their talismanic striker and they often only play with one up front. With Watford desperate for the ‘Vydra-type’ striker they lacked last season, it was logical for the Pozzos to send the young striker back to Vicarage Road.
Promotion to the Premier League is worth an estimated £120m at least to Watford, and the family, and Vydra knows the language, the club, the area and arguably most importantly, has proven he can score lots of goals in the Championship.
So the Pozzos tell Vydra they want him to return to Watford.
I’m sure his agent and the player hoped to find a top-flight club, as quotes from the pair suggested this summer, but that seemed unlikely. So once it was made clear to Vydra where they wanted him to go, he either returned to Vicarage Road or demanded to stay at Udinese.
The Pozzos have enough players on their books that they could afford to take the risk of letting Vydra sit in the reserves should they want to prove a point. And the player still has three years to run on his Udinese contract.
Whereas a move to Watford would secure him regular football for a team expected to challenge for promotion; an ideal situation for rebuilding his reputation as one of the deadliest finishers in the top two divisions of English football.
He hasn’t got to worry about learning a new language, meeting new team-mates or settling into an area which he said was something he didn’t want to do each summer. He can now hit the ground running.
During the 2012/13 campaign he scored 22 goals, won the Championship Player of the Year award and was linked with a host of Premier League sides in January before his mini goal drought.
If the 22-year-old can reproduce that form consistently next season, then it opens several doors to him and increases his value back to a similar level as last summer.
If Watford are promoted, then he becomes a Premier League footballer and may decide he wants to join the Golden Boys permanently, where he would almost certainly remain as one of their key players.
If he excels and the Hornets miss out on promotion again, then the Pozzos may decide he is heir to Di Natale’s throne and he has the chance to be a regular in Serie A.
If neither of those options take his fancy, then another fine season at Watford will lead to a host of clubs knocking on Gianpaolo’s, or his son Gino’s, door offering significantly more than they would this summer.
He would have options.
During his first six months at Watford, Vydra showed he was one of the best finishers in the club’s history.
His progression has slowed somewhat in the last year or so but Vydra’s return to Watford gives the youngster the perfect platform to showcase his immense talent. If he does, then the Pozzos, Watford’s fans and the player himself could find themselves delighted come May.