Up until today West Brom had signed only two players during the summer transfer window – 34 year old Nicholas Anelka from Juventus and 32 year old Diego Lugano from Paris Saint-Germain.
While both veterans have enjoyed impressive careers they are not exactly the kind of young, exciting prospects that create a buzz around the ground. Combine this failure to deal with the departure of last year’s loan sensation Romelu Lukaku back to parent club Chelsea, and supporters of the Baggies had cause for concern.
Nerves at The Hawthorns will be assuaged today, however, as Steve Clarke has signed Udinese striker Matej Vydra on a season-long loan. The Czech Republic international spent last season on loan with Watford where he scored 22 goals and provided 6 assists in 45 Championship matches.
Clarke spoke of his joy in signing the 21 year old Vydra: “I’m delighted to welcome Matej to the club. He had a really good year with Watford and we believe he’s got the qualities to score goals at a higher level.
“We had Matej watched throughout last season. As well as some excellent scouting reports, we had some really good feedback from within Watford about Matej as both a player and person. I’ve said previously we’re a bit light in the forward areas and Matej will increase competition for places.”
Vydra is known for his searing pace, intelligence and clever touch on the ball, particularly while dribbling. Vydra typically plays as a number 9 and will likely do so when deployed alongside Republic of Ireland international Shane Long. But depending on how quickly Vydra adapts to the top flight, don’t be surprised if Clarke utilizes Vydra in the supporting role when playing with Anelka, or on the right side when the Baggies are trailing.
After passing the West Brom medical, Vydra flew to Hungary to meet up with his international team-mates. The striker is expected to return to West Brom later this week ahead of their season opener against Southampton on Saturday.