Stoke City should make a statement of their intentions next season and secure Matej Vydra for next season.
The Czech striker is up for grabs as Derby look to cut their wage bill, while the Potters will want a player with proven Championship experience.
Vydra’s stats from last season speak for themselves. He scored 21 goals and secured four assists to finish as the league’s top scorer. Additionally, he won 1.5 fouls per game and made 1.0 key passes per game as he made himself the Rams’ biggest asset in their push for promotion.
Stoke found goals harder to come by last season. This was caused by a reliance on an ageing strike force that included 30-year-old Mame Biram Diouf and 37-year-old Peter Crouch. If Stoke are to have any sort of positive impact on the Championship next season, they will have to bring in younger strikers. At 26, Vydra is approaching his prime and would add much-needed vitality to the geriatric Stoke frontline.
There will be concerns that Stoke are buying him at his prime. This will drive his price up and he is already agitating for higher wages. However, for a striker of Vydra’s quality, it is worth the price, particularly as he has a few more years at his peak to go.
A reunion between Vydra and Gary Rowett would have several benefits. Rowett knows the system that will get the most out of him and how to play to his strengths. If he can get him to repeat his scoring feats from last season, Stoke fans could start eyeing a speedy return.