Cardiff City fans have been treated to a plethora of ‘big name’ signings over the past few years with the likes of Robbie Fowler, jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Craig Bellamy joining the club. Last season saw the likes of Bellamy, Koumas, Bothroyd, Olofinjana and Chopra in the first team – all players who have commanded huge transfer fees and wages.
It’s fair to say that last year’s squad failed to gel into a cohesive unit and we missed out in the play-offs after some inconsistent form. Malky Mackay has set about re-building a squad, and has added a number of solid Championship players:
Robert Earnshaw, Andy Taylor, Don Cowie and Aron Gunnarson are all experienced at this level and capable of doing a good and consistent job for the team – a trait that is seen in all the successful Championship teams. Players like Derry/Helguson at QPR, Shackell at Norwich and Tate/Monk at Swansea – these players do their jobs week-in, week-out and form the bedrock to the team.
Adding to that, we have signed promising young strikers in Joe Mason and Rudy Gestade. Both will hope to get some gametime, but are unlikely to regularly start as first choice. Craig Conway has joined from the SPL and will also look to translate his Dundee United form to his new club.
The current Bluebirds squad has the look of a solid Championship outfit, capable of beating any opponent but one that ultimately looks destined for mid-table. Mackay got Watford playing together last season, and they were in contention for the play-offs but financial constraints and a lack of consistency cost them. With luck, and more hard work – the current CCFC squad could yet mount a play-off challenge but they appear somewhat lacking in true quality.
Scott Sinclair (Swansea City), Adel Taraabt (QPR), Shane Long (Reading), Jay Bothroyd – all provided real quality and helped their team challenge at the top last season.
Peter Whittingham adds real class, while new signing Kenny Miller is a proven goalscorer and, despite being 31, has a lot to offer if he can re-find his previous form. However, you feel the Bluebirds need a couple of quality players to step in and become key performers, bringing the X-factor required to turn draws into victories, and gain points from games in which we underperform. Craig Bellamy certainly fits this category – but his future is far from certain and his return still seems a long way off. Long-term target David Goodwillie also would be regarded as a coup – but many clubs are interested.
Much will depend on financial constraints once again with Mackay utilising a large chunk of his budget on the inflated wages needed to attract free agents like Conway, Taylor, Cowie etc. The £900k payment to Bursaspor for kenny Miller is also a sizable chunk, while the £250k for Mason and Gunnarsson compensation will also eat into Mackay`s funds. However, the indications have been that there remains some money for the right players. One or two new recruits with the right quality, hunger and desire could transform Cardiff City into genuine promotion contenders – what does Malky have up his sleeve?!?
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