Most of you will know twenty two year old Udinese attacker Matej Vydra from his first season at Watford two years ago. His speed, off the ball movement and clinical finishing ability plundered him 20 goals in an emotional season which involved this goal in the famous play-off semi-final where Manuel Almunia’s last minute double save from Anthony Knockaert’s penalty was the start of a move which saw Troy Deeney volley home a matter of seconds later and send the Hornets to Wembley.
Initially playing as a right inside forward in a 4-3-3, Gianfranco Zola’s tactical change to 3-5-2 saw the Czech international playing as a second striker off Deeney. This lightening break shows the effectiveness of this 39 goal partnership.
Tough Prem Season
He played in the top tier the next season after a £1m loan move to West Brom but an injury in pre-season meant that he failed to hit the ground running and his first goal for the Baggies didn’t come until December. He notched three in the end, and returned to Udine uncertain of his future.
The Prodigal Son Returns
Having suffered an injury in the 2012-2013 play-off final, which Watford subsequently lost in injury time, Matej might have felt he had unfinished business at Vicarage Road and he returned for a second stint at the beginning of this season. Rekindling his partnership with Deeney (this season mainly in a 4-4-2 system) Matej has played under a remarkable 5 managers in his 18 games but still put the ball in the back of the net 7 times, popping up with 3 assists along the way.
Next stop, La Liga?
Similar to Alexis Sanchez, who spent a few seasons on loan before being introduced in Udinese’s main squad, Vydra already has what it takes to move on. It might seem his style doesen’t fit to well in the Premier League, after the unconvincing experience at West Brom, but his obviously impressive quality will be better framed in future with experience. Sanchez didn’t exactly turn into the devastating attacker you see today in his short stints at Colo Colo and River Plate on loan, but on his return to Serie A he was hungry for goals and hit the ground running. If Matej can do the same, who knows what the crazy world of football has in store for him?