Burnley fans were in dreamland last season, with Sean Dyche leading the club to a seventh-placed Premier League finish – and getting a pub named after him in the process!
But while repeating last season’s heroics is a big ask, they could well do so with new signing Matej Vydra on board.
We take a look at why the Czech Republic international could be the ideal fit for the Clarets.
He’s at the peak of his powers
After a series of promising but inconsistent campaigns, Vydra finally found his groove for Derby County last season.
Vydra netted 21 of the Rams’ 69 Championship goals in 2017-18 last term, assisting five. That means the Czech ace was directly involved in 36% of all their goals.
In addition to that, his tricky play, pace and distribution wore down defenders throughout the campaign. It’s no coincidence that 12 of Derby’s league goals last season came beyond the 80-minute mark.
And the former Watford star also proved himself a man for the big occasion.
The Rams edged a play-off spot by just two points in the end. And it was Vydra who grabbed crucial goals in two of the last three games – against Cardiff City and Bristol City respectively. In short, Burnley have a real difference-maker on their hands.
He has the experience to hit the ground running
The 26-year-old now has over 200 appearances under his belt in English football. Most have come in the Championship, but he does also know the Prem.
As a raw-but-talented 21-year-old, he scored three and set up four goals in 23 games for West Bromwich Albion.
That experience of the rigours of English football mean he’d be ready to slot right in for the Clarets. And ahead of Burnley’s first ever European campaign, he’s one of the few in the Turf Moor ranks to have experience in continental competition.
While he’s not played in the Europa League regularly, he did find the net in Udinese’s UEL campaign of 2015-16. If they’re to push on in the competition, there’s every chance he’ll be drafted in later on.
He’d be the ideal partner for Wood
Burnley’s biggest goal threat last season was Chris Wood. The New Zealander racked up double-figures last term, despite missing a chunk of the season with injury.
And in Vydra, the Clarets could have the man to bring even more out of Wood. Whilst the latter offers bustling physicality and an aerial presence, the tricky and intelligent Vydra will lay chances on a plate for the robust hitman.
Burnley kick off their campaign at Southampton on Sunday, with Sean Dyche’s men 19/20 in the Double Chance.
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