Transfer deadline day passed yesterday with one arrival at Cardiff City Stadium and no departures. Despite my fears about the deal being hijacked by Birmingham, Ben Turner completed his move to Cardiff from Coventry on a three year contract even though Jon Parkin’s move in the opposite direction fell through because terms could not be agreed. Turner signed for an undisclosed fee, but with initial reports putting it’s value at £750k plus Parkin, I suppose that, although my own view is that this is an exaggerated figure, the final fee might have been as high as £1 million.
Unfortunately, Turner’s arrival has been overshadowed to a large extent by the news that Craig Bellamy will not be returning to Cardiff City. An offer from Liverpool of a two year contract was enough to persuade Bellamy to sign for them for a second time and, even if the claims in the Daily Mirror this morning about him having taken a 50% wage cut are true, he is still on a lot more than we could have offered him. There has been disappointment expressed (to put it mildly!) at Bellamy’s decision from some supporters who accuse the player of lying after comments he made about returning to Cardiff at the end of last season, but, come on, since when has what footballers, or people in football, said at any given time, been the Gospel truth? Bellamy said what he did (there has to be a very good chance he now regrets saying it), but to expect him to behave in a manner completely alien to 99.9% of his profession was always asking too much in my opinion.
Anyway, back to Ben Turner – in my previous post on here I talked of his possible signing being a strange one given his recent injury record. An ankle ligament injury kept him out for all bar thirteen of Coventry’s matches in 09/10 and last season a knee injury in November ended his campaign after playing just one more match than he managed in the previous season. There has to be a degree of risk involved in Turner’s signing of course, but the fact that we are talking about injuries to different areas of his body should make it less of a concern than if there had been a reoccurrence of the first one, so, overall, I’m not as concerned about this as I was when I first heard about our interest in him. To some degree, this has something to do with me not having read a single critical comment about his playing ability from Coventry fans in the last few days. Indeed, some have been positively gushing in their praise of Turner – for example ! I’m pretty sure £5 million is an exaggeration, but the positive feedback from Coventry fans has me thinking that we may well have got ourselves a bargain – as long as we can get him on the pitch often enough.
Finally, I’ve been reluctant to commit myself as far as predicting how we’ll do this season and, to be honest, I still am considering that I fully expect us to bring in one or two loan signings pretty soon, but, as I’ve been saying that there’s no point predicting anything until 1 September, perhaps I had better stay true to my word! Anyway, in the unlikely event of us not bringing any more new players in, I’d say that the spending power and reputation of West Ham puts them beyond us and I must admit to being very impressed by Brighton and Southampton so far. Also, although there’s a chance it will all end in tears there, the likelihood is that Leicester’s madcap spending will see them up there as well. Bearing all of this in mind – I don’t see us as automatic promotion contenders, but as one of about eight or nine clubs who are genuine Play Off contenders and I’d say our chances are better than quite a few of them as well.
In my book we are stronger in goal than we were at the most vital time of last season, while we are better at the back and in midfield (even if we could do with a pacy wide player) than we were for all of 10/11. The problem at the moment is up front for me where we are relying on a partnership which shows little sign of working so far and we have promising, but not proven players, as back up – solve that problem and I’m pretty optimistic about the next nine months.