Leeds have struggled to find the back of the net this season.
There are no two ways about it, for all of their dominance they’ve not scored anywhere near as many goals as they should have as they’re currently underperforming their xG by almost ten strikes.
It’s not nice to make anyone a scapegoat, but the finger has to be pointed at Leeds United’s striker position as the Whites have struggled with finishing their chances.
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In order to combat this Leeds have been looking at the possibility of signing Matej Vydra (The Mirror, 22/11, page 74), but would he be a good signing?
The former Championship Golden Boot winner has scored plenty of goals at this level, but his goalscoring record is much better when he plays as a second striker, so Marcelo Bielsa’s system may have no spot for him.
It’s a tough one to judge, but we’ve tasked our team of writers to give their views on whether or not Leeds should sign Vydra…
“Matej Vydra is exactly what Leeds need. Forget Nketiah, forget a potential move for Brewster. This is a player who has the potential to be a pivotal part in any side competing for promotion.
“The Czech forward has 65 goals at this level and has previously had a strong say in Watford’s playoff charges, scoring 20 goals for the Hornets in 2012/13, a campaign where he bagged a brace against Leeds. There may be some issues with the hierarchy after they were left unconvinced by the forward in the summer, but if a player of this quality is available for a Championship side, they must grab it with both hands.
“A lack of football at Burnley, playing just five times this term, could mean he takes some time to get up to speed but this would definitely be a valuable signing. Even if Nketiah sticks around, the Whites need extra help in the goals department and Vydra is certainly someone that can aid their cause.
“If Leeds are guilty of anything this season, it’s their inability to take chances. Patrick Bamford went ten games without a strike while they’ve bagged eight goals fewer than league leaders West Brom. It’s a no brainer to sign him.”
“A proven goal-scorer at Championship level, Matej Vydra could be the man to fire Leeds United to promotion. The 27-year-old has spent five campaigns in total in English football’s second division, and three of those seasons saw him notch over 15 goals.
“His final year at Derby saw him net 21 times in 40 Championship games – a ratio better than one in two. When comparing Vydra’s underlying numbers in that 2017/2018 season to what Patrick Bamford has managed this year, it really paints a picture of just how much more clinical the former is.
“The Czech Republic international struck 21 goals averaging just 1.8 shots per game, whilst Bamford has only netted six times in 17 appearances, despite taking 3.2 shots per game. Vydra is a proven commodity at this level, and can be the difference-maker for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.”
“Although Marcelo Bielsa is seemingly a fan of Vydra, signing him in January would be a bit of a gamble for several reasons.
“Firstly, he has played just 148 minutes of football this season and would, therefore, need an adjustment period to get up to speed and reach the high fitness levels that Bielsa demands from his players, by which point Leeds could have dropped vital points.
“Also, he is quite a similar player to Bamford as his all-round game is good, but he can go long periods without scoring – notching just five goals in 33 league games for Derby in 2016/17 for example.
“As a result, he could be a bit of a risk and he may not guarantee the goals that Leeds need for their promotion push, with Bamford likely to keep his place ahead of him if he joined.”
“I think that Leeds should tread carefully when looking to sign Matej Vydra.
“The Whites desperately need a striker who can score on a regular basis, but Vydra isn’t best utilised as an out and out number nine, as shown by his season at Derby where he netted 21 goals as a second striker.
“Bielsa’s system doesn’t currently accommodate a player in that mould, so it’s hard to say that signing the Czech would be the right move for the Yorkshire outfit right now.
“Personally I think they should be looking elsewhere for a striker at this moment in time.”