It’s been a quiet summer so far for the Bluebirds, bar the permanent signing of Lex Immers. The nation remains focused on Wales’ Euro 2016 exploits along with Cardiff City boss Paul Trollope, assistant to Chris Coleman for the remainder of the campaign. However, the new EFL season is approaching and there is definite work to be done with the squad at Cardiff. Whilst the summer’s outgoings remain to be seen, there are three clear areas where the Bluebirds must strengthen.
Given the release of Ben Turner, scorer of the infamous equaliser in 2012’s League Cup final, alongside the possible departure of star defender Bruno Manga, at least one new top quality centre-half is a major requirement for the Bluebirds. Gazélec Ajaccio captain Rodéric Filippi is a name currently doing the rounds. The 6ft centre-back marshalled a defence that conceded 58 goals in Ligue 1 last season, the joint-second worst record, with his team being relegated.
A number of big names have also been released from Premier League clubs. Former Watford stalwart Joel Ekstrand failed to gain a new contract after struggling with injury over the past season, and perhaps a club willing to take a gamble on his fitness can have a very solid centre-half in their squad.
With Craig Noone faltering at times this season and Anthony Pilkington placed upfront, Cardiff often lacked width and pace on the wings. Kadeem Harris showed flashes of what was needed during his periodic cameos off the bench but a pacy dribbler with a good end product must be high on Trollope’s shopping list. Talk of David Cotterril dominates the local papers after he was touted with a £1 million contract release clause. Given the idea that the club are looking to build a greater Welsh player-base, this rumour does seem to hold some weight. However, the player is not a particular fan favourite given his spells with Swansea City and Bristol City, despite being Cardiff born, and he would have to perform well to win over the more fickle fans.
Undoubtedly, a top-quality goalscorer must be the number one priority in the transfer window. There was no goal threat last season, as discussed in a previous article, hence a disappointing finish for the Bluebirds. Whilst Immers has sealed a permanent switch to the capital, it is clear his talents lie in his native midfield rather than as a makeshift striker. Tony Watt enjoyed a successful loan spell with Cardiff (followed by time at Blackburn), and has returned to join up with relegated Charlton, now managed by former City boss Russell Slade. He clearly has the ability to play at a Championship level and thrived under the adulation of the Cardiff City faithful, but a number of suitors are after the striker, best known for his winner against Barcelona for Celtic in 2012.
On the Radar
Despite the club stating he is not on the Bluebird’s radar, Welsh forward Hal Robson Kanu is without a club since his departure from Reading and would be a perfect fit for Cardiff with his relentless work ethic and versatility, playing both upfront and as a winger. Rumours of Premier League interest, especially West Bromwich Albion, remain prevalent and the Welsh cult hero looks set to get a shot at the top level of British football.
Chelsea youngster Islam Feruz is another name on the radar. The 5ft4 striker spent some time training with the Bluebirds in 2014 but has faced unsuccessful loan spells at OFI Crete, Blackburn and Hibernian. Most recently Feruz trialled with FC Aktobe of the Kazakhstan Premier League but failed to adjust to the warm weather. Given that, the damp and gloomy South Wales may prove an ideal fit. However, he is far from a proven striker with no professional goals despite a strong record at youth level. The unproven young forward has also faced controversy for his use of social media following unprofessional comments about his loan club Blackpool. He has also raised questions about his future international career. With the need for a proven top-level goalscorer, Feruz would be a massive gamble and one the Blackbirds should not rest their season upon.
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