There’s been a lot said in the last few days about the Matej Vydra transfer saga. The facts are simple, however. Leeds went in for the player and had agreed terms with the player on principle and were negotiating a transfer fee with Derby. The player has since revised his wage demands from circa £30k to in excess of £50k. This has resulted in a vast amount of the Leeds fan-base accusing the player of being greedy and being totally perplexed at why he should ask for such an insane figure.

The answer is simple – because he can. Clubs like Aston Villa (and others drunk on Premier League parachute payment riches) are capable of paying wages far higher than the rest of us. While I entirely agree that £50,000 per week is an obscene salary for a Championship player, clubs like Villa have laid the groundwork for it being acceptable. Snodgrass, McCormack, Jedinak, Agbonlahor and Richards were all earning between £42-55k last season so it’s perfectly understandable that the league’s top scorer could be convinced to seek an equally obscene salary. Ruben Neves at Wolves is on around £45k too – so if we’re accepting that top-end Championship players can get between £40-50k, it stands to reason that Vydra would believe he’s also worthy of such a wage.

He’s wrong, of course.

Not only do Leeds not have that kind of money (especially not when attached to a high transfer fee (a free transfer on £50k/week over 3 years would only cost £7.8m, some distance short of Vydra’s initial transfer fee) but it’s simply not sustainable for anyone outside of the parachute-payment-club. And then even if we accept that a player getting £50k/week in the Championship is viable, whether Matej Vydra is of that level is open for debate. 22 goals in all competitions is a reasonable haul but he only netted 5 in his previous campaign and 9 the season before. Players like McCormack had been reliably netting 20+ goals to command such a salary whereas it doesn’t seem likely that there’ll be many clubs in this league jumping to spend so much on a player after 1 strong season.

Though Chris Wood only had one strong season at Leeds before being snapped up by the Premier League (though he did net 30 goals in all competitions…)

Ultimately you’re worth what someone is willing to pay. Vydra (or his agent) clearly thinks that he’s worthy of top Championship dollar – whether he is or not comes down to whether someone else thinks he is. For now all we know is that Leeds don’t. If this deal goes ahead it won’t be shaped like this, you can say that for sure.

 

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