Derby County say injury was behind the decision to leave Matej Vydra out of their pre-season tour to Tenerife despite on-going talks with Leeds United over a deal for the Championship’s top scorer.
Vydra is spending this week in England while Derby’s first-team squad train abroad with new manager Frank Lampard, heightening expectation that his time at Pride Park is drawing to a close.
Derby are open to offers for Vydra having moved to cut expenditure at Pride Park this summer in the wake of another failed bid for promotion but the club are holding out for a fee in the region of £11m and Vydra’s future is unresolved with pre-season already underway.
Leeds made an initial move for him in May but offered a package below Derby’s valuation and have so far failed to meet the 26-year-old’s asking price.
Vydra’s absence from Derby’s trip to Tenerife was taken as an indication that a transfer was creeping closer but Lampard insisted that injury concerns had forced him to leave out the striker and predicted that Vydra would resume full training next week. Vydra was troubled by a groin problem after Christmas.
“Vydra has stayed back, he had a small injury and he hasn’t trained properly at all so it was much better for him and the medical team to work back at the training ground,” Lampard said.
“He has a week to get himself ready and hopefully then he’ll be ready to join the rest of the lads.”
Vydra has spent the past two seasons with Derby following an £8 move from Watford in 2016. A disappointing first year at Pride Park was followed by a 22-goal campaign which drove Derby into the Championship play-offs.
United, however, made an approach after learning that County were willing to sacrifice Vydra to bring down costs.
Leeds pursued him in tandem with a bid to sign out-of-contract striker Abel Hernandez but neither set of negotiations has reached a conclusion, despite Hernandez’s deal at Hull City officially expiring on Saturday. Hernandez, regardless of his status as a free agent, would come at a high cost having earned in excess of £40,000 a week at Hull. Vydra, meanwhile, would command the highest fee paid by Leeds for any player since their relegation from the Premier League 14 years ago.
United previously looked into a deal for Carpi’s Nigerian forward Jerry Mbakogu in January, negotiating an option to take him this summer, but the option was due to expire over the weekend and the YEP understands that Leeds do not intend to complete that transfer.
A new goalkeeper, meanwhile, remains high on the agenda at Elland Road and Chelsea’s Jamal Blackman – a loanee at Sheffield United last season – was photographed at Leeds’ Thorp Arch training ground last week.
Blackman is on United’s list of options and under consideration after an attempt to secure David Stockdale from Birmingham City failed last week.
United want Stockdale on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent deal but Birmingham refused an offer which would have covered a percentage of his salary at St Andrews and neither side appears willing to give any ground.
The future of Angus Gunn, another keeper Leeds have targeted on a temporary basis, remains in the hands of Manchester City amid suggestions that Pep Guardiola will listen to permanent bids in excess of £10m.ady and hopefully then he’ll be ready to join the rest of the lads.”