It has been a transfer window typified by hesitation, stubbornness, and perennial anticipation. The big names in the eye of the transfer storm have, so far, failed to sway definitively this way or that. The likes of Rooney, Suarez, and Bale continue to dominate back pages, and you can be sure that they will do so right up until the final hours of the summer market. But amidst the uncertainty surrounding the big-guns, there have been many acquisitions across the board that will surely be turning heads come the new Premier League season.
The ominously named is the latest striker to pitch up in the Premier League, after his loan move to West Brom from Italian side, Udinese, was confirmed on Tuesday. The Czech joins a plethora of new striking talent just itching to have a go at the sternest defences in the top flight.
Having plied his trade for Watford in the Championship last year, as part of an almost ubiquitous contingent of Udinese loanees, the Vydra shone, and netted a brilliant 20 goals in 41 games for the Hornets.
He also named the ‘Football League Championship Player of the Year’ in what was ultimately a disappointing season for Watford, having missed out on promotion to the top flight after their defeat to Crystal Palace in the Championship play-off final.
Certainly impressive exploits by the youngster, who has convinced West Brom that he is ready to test himself in the Premier League.
“He had a really good year with Watford and we believe he’s got the qualities to score goals at a higher level,” said West Brom head coach Steve Clarke on Tuesday.
“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.”
Vydra will find competition in the form of not only Shane Long, Peter Odemwingie, and Markus Rosenberg – but also fellow new signing, Nicolas Anelka. The immensely well-travelled Frenchman will be looking to prove that his recent jaunt to China has not finished off his ambition on the big stage.
There is surely some sort of play-on-words to be constructed involving the Czech striker’s name, a mythological Greek monster, and the aforementioned ‘turning of heads’; and if the 21-year-old Vydra can capture his form of last, expect to see many a tortured pun being utilised by the English press in the coming campaign.
But the Baggies are certainly not the only side to have increased their firepower this transfer window; and the amount of quality strikers now residing in so many teams across the country serves to whet the appetite of fans everywhere.
Swansea’s club record smashing £12m acquisition of Ivorian hit man, Wilfried Bony, is one of real intrigue. The 24-year-old had previously been a target of several sides in the English top-flight, with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, and Newcastle rumoured to have been interested in the striker. Having grabbed a ludicrous 37 goals in 36 games last year for former club Vitesse Arnhem in the Dutch Eredivisie, his presence up front for the Swans, backed up by the mercurial Michu, may well propel the Welsh side to pastures new.
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, former target of Manchester United, has turned up at Norwich, for a club record £8.5m. ‘The Wolf’ is a Dutch international, and he scored 14 goals in the Portuguese top flight last year for Sporting Lisbon. The 24-year-old netted his first goal for the Canaries earlier this month in the 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad. Considered to be quite a coup, he is yet another player of real attacking menace who will turn out for a side outside of the upper echelons of the Premier League.
The likes of Cardiff’s new record signing, Andreas Cornelius; Sunderland’s American acquisition, Jozy Altidore; Newcastle’s new loan man, Loic Remy; and possibly even Crystal Palace’s Marouane Chamakh, complete a gallery of potentially surprising striking stories for the coming season.
The usual suspects remain at large at the top of the striking pile, with the ineffable Robin Van Persie leading the pack. The likes of Sergio Aguero, Luis Suarez (if the saga is resolved), and Christian Benteke will surely be sniffing around the prize of top dog come the business end of next season. The Belgian, Benteke, was one of last year’s surprise packages, with the powerful 22-year-old smashing 23 goals in 39 games for Aston Villa; who’s to say any of the aforementioned new strikers can’t give RVP and the gang a run for their money next time around?
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