' Cardiff City Investment is needed yet again. '

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' Cardiff City Investment is needed yet again. '

Postby Forever Blue » Tue Mar 24, 2020 5:13 pm

Here, we look at what needs to be done in the Bluebirds summer window...


Investment is needed yet again.

By Glen Williams

Tuesday 24th March 2020




THE PRIORITIES

Right-back

No matter which division City find themselves in next season, they desperately need to bolster this position.

Young Dion Sanderson has proven to be a shrewd signing in recent weeks since joining on loan from Wolves, but there is no guarantee he will be back next season. A number of clubs, including Premier League sides Aston Villa and West Ham, are credited with having an interest in taking him next year, so City will face intense competition.

Jazz Richards, meanwhile, sees his contract expire at the end of the current campaign.

Harris sought to talk up the Welshman very early on in his tenure, but whether he has done enough to earn a new deal is up in the air.

Richards turns 29 in just a couple of weeks’ time and given the manager has been asked to lower the average age of the squad, approaching 30 might just work against him if he is deemed surplus to requirements.

Cameron Coxe, the 21-year-old who was tipped to be Lee Peltier’s successor, has also been told he can leave at the end of his current deal.

The above could well point to Cardiff having no right-backs whatsoever in the summer.

It is an area which needs to be addressed at the earliest opportunity.




Playmaker

Every Bluebirds fan’s worst fear was realised when news emerged that Lee Tomlin was to miss the rest of the season.

As it happens, that might not be the case given the lengthy lay-off this hiatus has afforded the player to recuperate from his knee injury.

There is no question Cardiff were weaker without that guile and creativity in behind the striker. It might be the case that Tomlin is back for the nine-game run-in, but that is certainly not by design, it is because of a viral pandemic.

Cardiff simply must ensure there is better back-up for next season and as such another playmaker has to be brought in as a matter of urgency.

On the day Tomlin’s injury hit the headlines, Harris revealed he had tried, but failed, to sign a playmaker during the January window.

The club cannot fail this time around.


Lee Tomlin needs support (Image: Getty Images)
A transfer which would make the most sense is to recruit someone young and with bags of potential to unlock.

A player trying to find his feet in the game, allowing Tomlin to still feel like the main man but with back-up for cup competitions and when the fixtures pile up.

It would also align with what Harris’ transfer remit is, too: Cut the average age.

If City were promoted to the Premier League, though, they might need someone more proven, a player of Victor Camarasa’s ilk, for example.

They simply cannot rely on Tomlin to be fit for a marathon 38-game season, it cannot be left to chance next term.

Striker

Another department which is in need of strengthening.

Cardiff currently have two recognised, fit, senior front-men in Danny Ward and Robert Glatzel, but a converted full-back is the one who has been doing the business.

Callum Paterson, to his credit, has grabbed his opportunity by the scruff of the neck in recent months and is not letting go of that No.9 spot without a fight.

But if this club is to really propel itself into the top echelons of English football, they need better and more proven options.

Ward is out of contract in the summer, so that needs addressing anyway. Will he be happy playing second or third fiddle?

Harris has hinted there might well be external factors, too, which decide what happens to the player this summer, including whether he might want to move closer to his home in Yorkshire, where he has spent practically all of his footballing career except for Cardiff.

Glatzel was the marquee signing in the summer, a £5.5m signing from German second tier side Heidenheim.

He has shown glimpses of class, but some question whether he is the answer.

Many have called for patience when it comes to Glatzel, though, and there is validity in those claims.


Robert Glatzel was a marquee signing, but hasn't proved a hit yet
It might take a season or two for him to get to grips with the rough and tumble of the Championship, so he is worth persevering with.

Isaac Vassell? Well, unfortunately, it’s probably best we don’t place any expectation on him, given his horrendous luck with injuries in recent seasons.

But if Ward leaves, City will be left with a right-back turned striker, an unproven Championship striker and a forward constantly stricken with injuries.

Investment is needed yet again.



Goalkeeper

There is no bottomless pit when it comes to finances at Cardiff City.

The board have recently told supporters that the purse strings will be tightened following a rough transfer expenditure of around £100m during Neil Warnock’s three-year reign as Bluebirds boss.

They have said that simply cannot go on and the club must become more self-sustaining.

The goalkeeper situation is an interesting one.

Neil Etheridge and Alex Smithies are good keepers. Smithies is the preferred choice, but Etheridge will want game time. Is it financially viable to have one of those two on the bench when they are unlikely to play?

There is also Joe Day, too, a senior goalkeeper who would be a more than capable No.2 should the first choice fall victim to injury.

And that is all without mentioning young George Ratcliffe, a 19-year-old keeper who is thought of highly within the Bluebirds and Wales youth ranks.

Harris’ mantra all along has been to show a pathway to youngsters and cutting one of the goalkeepers would certainly sing to that tune.

The situation was almost resolved in January when West Ham were sniffing around for Etheridge, but they opted for Darren Randolph instead, prompting Day to be sent on loan to AFC Wimbledon.

It is highly probable the merry-go-round will be revisited this summer, but perhaps a more permanent solution will be found.




OTHER AREAS WHICH MIGHT NEED ADDRESSING



Left-back

Joe Bennett is first-choice at the moment and he has earned that right, given his stellar years of service at the club.

But he has been run into the ground so far this season, given the dearth of back-up options available to Harris.

Greg Cunningham was sent on loan to Blackburn at the start of the season and impressed there, before a knee injury curtailed his season.

Brad Smith signed for the club in January, on loan until the end of the season, but has not played a single minute.

He is out of contract at Bournemouth this summer, but whether Harris and his staff have seen enough of him on the training ground to offer him a free transfer remains to be seen. Another thing they have to address.


Cunningham went up to Blackburn because he knew he would be used only as back-up to Bennett, so will the Republic of Ireland international stick around next season if that is still the case?

In Bennett, Cunningham and Smith, there are three left-backs, there must only be two when next season kicks off, one would think.




Centre-back

If Harris is to chop down the average age of this squad, this area appears to be the one in which he can make the biggest and quickest reduction.

Sean Morrison and Curtis Nelson have forged an encouraging partnership, but it means Sol Bamba and Aden Flint, each of whom will probably be bringing home sizeable wages, are twiddling their thumbs on the sidelines, so to speak.

If a prudent business decision is made, one of those two will have to leave the club this summer.

Bamba is a fans' favourite, a leader within the group, invaluable to youngsters coming through and has the know-how of earning promotion to the Premier League.

He is, though, 35 and has visibly struggled to regain his very best form following that horrendous ACL injury a year ago.

Flint, meanwhile, is five years younger, has played far more regularly this season and was signed for £4m plus add-ons last summer.

It seems unfeasible that the two can stay at the club in a playing capacity next season, especially with Ciaron Brown set to rejoin the squad.

Harris has high hopes for 21-year-old Brown, a Northern Ireland international who has impressed up at Livingston, and wants to reintegrate him into the squad this summer.

That means there will be five senior centre backs and it appears likely one of the two elder statesmen might have to make way.





The wings

This is probably the area which needs the least attention, given that City have five options on the books and it’s the area of the side which tends to be rotated most frequently.

Albert Adomah is on loan from Nottingham Forest until the end of the season, but it is fair to say many supporters would like him back next season, even if he is 33 this year.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is another who, when fit, has the capacity to tear up the Championship.

The same, too, goes for Josh Murphy, who has shown his class in glimpses but needs to show more consistency. He is still just 24, though, so he will have his chance to prove himself, if Celtic don’t come swooping, that is.

Gavin Whyte has shown some promise and, at 23, is still learning his trade at this level.

Junior Hoilett, too, has been a fine servant and a solid option on the left flank.

But will Harris need all five next season? Adomah was seemingly bought as injury cover following Mendez-Laing’s hamstring tear, so he might simply return to Forest.

But what if that happens and then Celtic, or another club, swoop for Murphy? The Bluebirds are depleted again then.

It’s a definite balancing act, but an area which needs to be monitored closely throughout the summer, nonetheless.
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' Cardiff City Investment is needed yet again. '

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Re: ' Cardiff City Investment is needed yet again. '

Postby Chris Holmes » Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:12 pm

This seems to be a recurring story...
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Re: ' Cardiff City Investment is needed yet again. '

Postby bluesince62 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:11 am

He must have read this forum,cos even a one eyed bluebird will tell you,this is f@cking obvious :roll: :old: :bluebird:
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Re: ' Cardiff City Investment is needed yet again. '

Postby Thewifestheboss » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:05 am

Whyte at 23 learning his trade. Come off it, if you haven't made it by 23 them give up. Other teams play players from 17 years of age.
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