Cardiff City have been forced to rely on several loan players per season bulk us a meagre squad for the previous few years. However, the past campaign saw a noticeable upturn in quality of loanee we could attract and afford. The current England U21s goalkeeper of Manchester United was one of five loan acquisitions from the top flight, with another from top Russian outfit Spartak Moscow. In their careers, Chopra (£5m), Eddie Johnson (£3m) and Wayne Routledge (£2m) had all commanded big money fees.
In the end, we had three goalkeepers on loan at the same time. Tom Heaton and Stuart Taylor both acquitted themselves reasonably well though failed to really inspire. Both men could well do with some kicking practise over the summer months! Dimi Konstantopoulos was the other, playing just 6 times, dropping crosses and points as he committed 2 horrendous gaffes and replaced.
Eddie Johnson and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie both arrived as current Internationals (USA and Ghana respectively) and with good reputations and pedigree. Neither would say the loan move worked out well for them with Quincy managing just a few cameo appearances amid rumours of a poor attitude and training ground bust-up with Dave Jones. Eddie Johnson performed terribly at first, was little short of a liability but quickly became a sort of joke figure amongst Cardiff City fans. This developed into a cult hero status as his work-rate and hapless nature won him some tongue-in-cheek admirers. In fact, Eddie`s performances steadily improved and he actually contributed well in several games. His first goal was greeted by delirium on the 23rd appearance, another followed against Derby but was cancelled out by a peculiar own-goal in the same game.
Wayne Routledge and Michael Chopra were the two who impressed most adding pace and goals. Routledge wasn`t around for long but was a fantastic acquisition and caused a great deal of problems for opposition defenders. Chops wasn`t the same player we all knew and clearly struggled with a heel problem, nevertheless is was a welcome return.
A recent poll suggested by bluebirdlewis invited reader`s opinions on our best loan signing – Wayne Routledge was the clear winner:
Routledge polled far more than his nearest competitor despite leaving the club in acrimonious circumstances and driving away without a backwards glance to join ‘moneybags’ QPR. He was missed and our season would have turned out differently if we had managed to sign him permanently.
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