Derby County selling crowd favourite Matej Vydra could be the smartest piece of business they do this summer despite the outcry it would cause among a section of the club’s supporters.
The Czech international arrived at the club in the summer of 2016 and despite a mediocre first season, he has become a big hit among supporters following his excellent goal scoring rate this term.
Vydra has netted 21 Championship goals this term, topping the league’s charts as the Rams made it to the Championship playoffs – eventually succumbing to a 2-1 semi-final defeat to third-placed Fulham.
The former Watford man has since been linked with a move away from the club, with the Telegraph reporting that Derby could be forced to sell him for financial reasons after missing out on the playoffs.
Luckily for Derby, though, his excellent goal scoring campaign means they should be able to fetch at least £14 million for him and bizarrely enough he is no longer deemed a regular starter for the club.
Gary Rowett’s switch in formation to a 3-4-3 system has seen Vydra start just one of the club’s last six matches, and strangely enough results and performances have largely improved with the Czech ace sitting on the bench.
The reason being is Vydra is predominantly a number 10, and his best goal scoring campaigns have come when playing behind a centre-forward such as this season and when he partnered Troy Deeney at Vicarage Road.
When tasked with other roles, such as at Reading or Derby in a different system, he has looked out of sorts and largely a stumbling block to his own side’s attacking intentions.
Derby cashing in on Vydra may lose them a 21-goal player in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but they wouldn’t be losing a 21-goal player in a 3-4-3 system and ultimately, they have looked far better using the latter system.
A sizeable chunk for the 26-year-old could allow Rowett to significantly bolster other more pressing areas of the squad, such as a mobile central midfielder, a natural left wingback and another attacking wide player.
From the outside it may appear a strange move, but as always, a balanced side will always perform better than a pieced-together first-team eleven boasting a top-quality player subsequently playing out of position.