You suspect Matej Vydra wants this season to end as soon as possible. His loan at Reading hasn’t worked out as he, Watford and the Royals would’ve hoped. He is coming under intense criticism, no more so than after last night’s 2-1 defeat to Middlesbrough.
The Czech Republic international has scored just nine goals this term, only four of which have come in the Championship. More was expected of him, especially as Reading paid Watford £2.5m – a figure which matched their record transfer fee – to bring Vydra to the Madejski Stadium.
The 23-year-old was signed to make the difference in key games, such as a difficult midweek trip to Middlesbrough. With last’s night game level at 1-1 going into added time, the ball was fed through to Vydra. From eight yards out, and with the goal at his mercy, he fired well over. It was a snapshot of the striker’s season and the miss was further exasperated by Adam Forshaw grabbing a stoppage time winner for Boro. The criticism was scathing.
It was led by BBC Radio Berkshire’s Tim Dellor, who is reported to have said the striker is “mentally shot” and that “if Vydra was a dog, he would be put down.” Others joined in.
It isn’t the first time the commentator has been harsh on the Watford loanee. At the start of the month, in a question to Royals boss Brian McDermott, he stated his surprise at seeing Vydra constantly named in the side, especially as “the amount of points Reading win when he isn’t on the pitch is incredible compared to when he is.”
When Reading completed their deal for Vydra it was hoped he’d spearhead the club’s promotion bid, and was why Reading negotiated an option to sign him permanently for £10m if they made it into the Premier League. There is no chance of either happening now.
He will be stuck in limbo, you imagine, until after this summer’s European Championships, where he is likely to represent the Czech Republic. A good tournament could make all the difference if he is to kick-start his career that has hit the buffers.
He will report back for pre-season with Watford, where he has four years left on his contract, but he’ll have a job working his way back into the fold. Quique Sanchez Flores wasn’t impressed by what he saw from the striker last summer. We have been told it took him just one game – the friendly against AFC Wimbledon – to decide Vydra wasn’t for him. And Isaac Success and Adalberto Penaranda are on their way in the summer as Watford look to beef up their attack and add some pace and power.
So a move away, on loan or permanently, is where the smart money is. Turning 24 next month and able to boast 40 goals in two Championship seasons, Vydra is still a valuable commodity, one that the club will make money from, especially if he bags a goal or two at the Euros.