With Derby fans still reeling from crashing out of the play-offs against Fulham on Monday, the report from the Telegraph that Matej Vydra could be leaving will be a kick in the teeth.
Vydra’s 21 goals and four assists were an essential element in Derby’s play-off push. Most notably, his goal to give Derby the lead against Cardiff helped end a three game losing streak, just in time to keep the Rams in the play-off spots.
The decision to sell the Championship’s top scorer is largely driven by financial necessity. After several years of promotion near misses, Derby feel unable to keep spending at the level they have been without securing the financial boon that accompanies promotion. This means cutting the amount spent on wages and selling off big name assets.
However, it is difficult to see Derby mounting a play-off push without the clinical Czech striker. Replacing the 21 goals he scored will not come cheaply and Derby cannot afford to do so. The hope will be that a current player will step up.
While this seemed to be the case last season when Tom Ince left, there will be a concern as to who can do it this time around. Of the current crop, Chris Martin, David Nugent, and Cameron Jerome have the history to suggest that they could step up. Yet Martin is out of favour, Nugent is on the decline, and Jerome is consistently inconsistent. Indeed it seems that in selling Vydra, Derby are selling their best shot at the play-offs.