09:01 13th August 2013
Czech striker joins on season-long loan from Udinese
ALBION have signed Udinese striker Matej Vydra on a season-long loan.
The Czech Republic international completed his move today after passing a medical and will wear the No.20 shirt.
The 21-year-old has now linked up with his country for Wednesday’s friendly with Hungary in Budapest and will return to train with his new team-mates for the first time ahead of Saturday’s Barclays Premier League opener against Southampton (ko 3pm).
Vydra shot to prominence on these shores last season during a year-long loan spell at Watford, where his 22 goals helped the Hornets reach the play-off final.
His impressive form saw him named the Championship Player of the Year and Watford’s Players’ Player of the Season, as well as figure in the PFA Championship Team of the Year.
Vydra scored his first international goals with a brace in a 3-0 win over Armenia in March’s World Cup qualifier.
Head coach Steve Clarke said: “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. Hopefully, he’ll show that this year with us.
“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. He’s another good quality striker to add to the other three senior forwards we have here.”
After a playing at youth level for hometown club FC Chotebor, Vydra moved to Vysocina Jihlava where he started his senior career.
He joined fellow Czech outfit Banik Ostrava in January 2010 as a 17 year old, scoring four goals in 14 games in a six-month spell before moving to Italian Serie A side Udinese.
In August 2011, a loan move to Club Brugge was cut short by injury but the following summer he sealed a switch to Vicarage Road – and hasn’t looked back since.
On the international scene, Vydra has played at every level from Under-16s and currently has seven senior caps, having scored twice.
Vydra is Albion’s third new recruit following the arrivals of Nicolas Anelka and Diego Lugano. The club have also re-signed Goran Popov on a season-long loan from Dynamo Kiev.
Albion’s Sporting & Technical Director (Designate), Richard Garlick, said: “Matej is a player we watched consistently last season due to the level of his performances for Watford and the number of goals he scored.
“We faced a lot of competition for his signature and we’re delighted he has chosen us to make the step up to Barclays Premier League level.
“Matej feels he can be successful here and we believe he will bring a different dimension to our attacking options.
“He’s a clever player, is quick and can play anywhere across the front three positions, or in a slightly withdrawn role.”
In total, Vydra has made 58 career league appearances, including 20 as a substitute, scoring 24 goals.