Matej Vydra joins West Brom on loan
West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke is backing Matej Vydra to shine on the Premier League stage after joining the Baggies on a season-long loan from Udinese.
The Czech Republic international completed his move to The Hawthorns on Tuesday after passing a medical and will wear their No. 20 shirt.
He scored 22 goals in Watford’s near-miss 2012-13 campaign, in which he was named the Championship Player of the Year as the Hornets lost in the Play-Off final, and is being tipped to deliver in the top flight as well.
“I’m delighted to welcome Matej to the club,” Clarke told the club's official website. “He had a really good year with Watford and we believe he has the qualities to score goals at a higher level. Hopefully, he’ll show that this year with us.
“We had him watched throughout last season. As well as some excellent scouting reports, we had some really good feedback from within Watford about him 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.”
The 21-year-old has now linked up with his country for tomorrow’s friendly with Hungary in Budapest and will return to train with his new team-mates for the first time ahead of Saturday’s Premier League opener against Southampton.
“I didn’t know one month ago if I was coming back to England, but I’m very pleased to become a West Bromwich Albion player," he said. "I will do the best for the team as we look to play at a high level. Of course there was a lot of clubs interested from Europe and also England, but I choose West Bromwich Albion because of the manager Steve Clarke, he’s one of the best managers in England, he’s playing a European style and I was asking my former coach Zola to suggest and he said: “Do it, go [to West Brom], they play a European style of football.
“It’s one of the reasons I also chose West Bromwich Albion because it’s a great opportunity to play alongside a big striker [in Nicolas Anelka] with his history in football.”
Vydra was also named Watford’s Players’ Player of the Season, as well as figuring in the PFA Championship Team of the Year, and scored his first international goals with a brace in a 3-0 win over Armenia in a World Cup qualifier in March.
His previous clubs include Banik Ostrava, who he joined in January, 2010 as a 17-year-old before scoring four goals in 14 games in a six-month spell prior to moving to Italian Serie A side Udinese.
In August, 2011, a loan move to Club Brugge was cut short by injury but Watford extracted full value from him last season.
He has played at every international level from under-16s and has seven senior caps.
Vydra is Albion’s third summer 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 and technical director, 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. He 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.”