Weekly Review 14/5/17.

So, we’re back at the time of year where, in the absence of any football games to talk about, I post these weekly comments on what has been happening at Cardiff City over the past seven days.

Come August and the new season, Mauve and Yellow Army will be celebrating it’s eighth birthday and so, with seven previous summers of summarising weekly news and gossip about the club through the close season, certain things become clearer as to the form these pieces will take as the weeks go by.

For example, it’s a given that, if what I write during the months of May, June and July is the summary of weekly news and gossip I mentioned earlier, then it’s nearly always the case that the nature of the pieces in the first of these months will be heavily weighted on the gossip, rather than news, side.

So it is, in this first review – in fact, it’s probably true to say that you will not read anything which constitutes authentic Cardiff City news in the rest of this piece!

Neil Warnock has been talking about the new players he believes he needs to recruit in the coming weeks for months now and so, it’s hardly surprising that City fans have had plenty of speculative media pieces regarding the identity of these summer arrivals since the 16/17 campaign ended seven days ago – truth be told, there were many such stories during the dying embers of the season as well.

Indeed, such has been the number of players the media have linked us with lately, it’s hard to keep track of them all, so I apologise now if this breakdown misses out on some of the men City have been said to have been considering signing.


It’s probably true to say that the position where we are most likely to see new recruits this summer is goalkeeper. Including Allan McGregor, City have four keepers with first team experience currently and it’s my guess that only one of them will be with the club next season.

I don’t see the two Ben’s, Amos and Wilson, being with us come the closing of the transfer window in September which would leave the solid and reliable Brian Murphy as the only senior goalkeeping survivor from those who were on our books on a permanent basis last season.

As for McGregor, his parent club Hull may well be relegated this lunchtime when they take on a Palace side still not sure of their Premier League place next season themselves yet. Wins in their last two matches have made it very likely that Swansea will be staying up, so Hull need to take at least four points from their last two games to preserve their place in the top flight, but in truth, their inferior goal difference means that probably nothing less than a win today and then another one when they entertain Spurs on the final day will do for the Humbersiders.

If Hull do go down, I’d be amazed if they would look to keep their three senior keepers (Jakupovic, McGregor and Marshall) at the club for a Championship campaign and, at the very least, I would expect one of them to go out on loan for 17/18.

So, the opportunity for City to still have the keeper we’ve had for most of the second half of the season is almost certainly there for them. However, Neil Warnock has said that McGregor’s wage demands would probably rule out any move for him (it wasn’t clear whether our manager was talking only in terms of a permanent move there mind) and the same reasons would also appear to make the move I’d prefer (a return for David Marshall) a non starter as well.

A lack of funding, or possibly a feeling that any transfer kitty Warnock is given would be better spent on targets in other positions (e.g. striker), would seem to rule out someone like Wayne Hennessey who is very likely to be released by Palace soon. Indeed, it’s unclear whether Wales Online, who make a habit of including the Palace trio of Hennessey, Joe Ledley and Fraizer Campbell in any list of City transfer targets they produce, mention that trio as players as ones they know we are interested in or ones they’d like us to be after.

So, while another McGregor type loan move cannot be entirely ruled out, I’d say that it’s more likely that one or both of a couple of players available on frees this summer will be with us for 17/18.

Our manager has confirmed that he made enquiries about Walsall’s Philippines international Neil Etheridge in January and there have been reports that we’re back in for him now. Also, Rotherham announced during last week that Lee Camp would be leaving them and, given his previous experience of working with Warnock, and our goalkeeping coach Andy Dibble, at that club last year, it seems to be taken for granted that the Northern Ireland international is on his way to Cardiff.

Our goalkeeper for 2017/18? On the face of it, the vastly experienced Lee Camp looks a virtual cert to be a Cardiff City player next season to me.

If I were asked what was the current transfer rumour most likely to become fact at City, I’d go for Lee Camp being with us for the new season and my second most likely one would be that Etheridge would be here – I’m not sure if it would be a case of one or the other of them either.

Full back

Most pundits appear to be identifying full back as an area where we don’t need strengthening, but I’ll mention that there are still stories out there linking us with Hearts’ Callum Paterson, who we were, apparently, after in January before he sustained the knee injury which ended his season. Paterson is another who is very likely to be making a Bosman type move this summer and I’d rate it unlikely that his destination will be Cardiff, but I’d also put him into the might be worth pushing the boat out a bit for category if we received any encouragement that he would be prepared to come here.


Ideally, this is a position where we could go with what we already have, but, with it looking increasingly like any attempt to persuade Bruno Manga to accept a new contract on reduced wages is doomed to failure, it strikes me that this is a position where we would still have good options, but maybe there is a need for someone to come in. If that was the thinking, then it seems to me that someone like Motherwell’s Ben Heneghan might be the sort of player we’d look at because he’d be pretty cheap and could be seen as “one for the future”.

Central midfield

Again, much depends on whether an established player stays at the club. If I had to guess, I’d opt for Peter Whittingham turning down our contract offer, but, Ledley speculation notwithstanding, I’m not convinced that this should be a high priority area when it comes to new players. I say that because, if the speculation is to be believed, Tom Adeyemi has done enough in his year at Rotherham to make his old club Norwich think of resigning him (Ipswich are supposed to be after him as well).

There’s also Emyr Huws of course – on the face of it, with Ipswich eager to make his loan move into a permanent one, his stay at Cardiff is coming to an end, but the Portman Road club have been run on a even tighter budget than us in recent seasons and my feeling is that if Huws is playing for them next season, it will be as a loan player again.

Barnsley’s Josh Scowen, another player likely to be available on a free this summer, is someone we’ve been vaguely linked with in the past and, rather like Callum Patterson, I’d say he’s someone definitely worth pursuing if we received any encouragement that he would consider us, but, in the absence of that happening, I’d be telling Huws that he has a fresh start at City if he wants one and a first team place can be his with a good pre season behind him.


With no confirmation yet that Kadeem Harris or Junior Hoilett have agreed new deals with the club and repeated rumours that Anthony Pilkington and Craig Noone are among the players we would listen to offers for, this could be a position where we’ll see wholesale changes in the summer.

However, our manager seems confident that the first two named will opt for staying at City and so, even if the other two leave, I think it may be a case of us just bringing in one newcomer.

Barnsley’s Marley Watkins has already said his goodbyes to the club’s supporters in a move which seems to confirm that all of the stories over the past six months or so about him rejecting a new contract with that club were true. City’s name always tends to be in any list of clubs rumoured to be interested in the Wales qualified former Swansea man, but with Premier League Burnley also regulars in such lists, Watkins seems one for the “unlikely” category to me.

A seemingly more realistic transfer would be this one speculated upon from last week and I’d rate it among the more believable of the rumours heard so far.


With Rickie Lambert another of those who it seems likely that the club would like to offload this summer and no sign whatsoever that Adam LeFondre will be offered a new deal, you could say that there is a danger that Kenneth Zohore will be the only specialist striker at City when the players report back for pre season training. Even if someone like Pilkington stays, he’s not a specialist in that position as he is more at home on the wing or in a number ten role just behind someone like Zohore – much the same could probably be said about youngsters like Mark Harris and Ibrahim Meite as well.

There is Rhys Healey of course, but is he going to be ready for the start of the campaign as he recovers from his cruciate knee ligament injury in January? So, on the face of it, there needs to be a striker or two signed soon.

So far, the players I’ve referred to have been ones who would cost us a modest transfer fee at most. The majority of players we’ve been linked to on a fairly regular basis have been ones that have been given free transfers or are available on Bosmans and yet I’ve got the distinct feeling that Neil Warnock has wanted to have a sum available to him to spend on transfer fees – albeit a significantly smaller amount than that certain other managers in the Championship would be expecting.

For me, striker has to be the most likely position in which we might find ourselves spending a significant sum in transfer fees compared to what we’ve become used to in the last two years or so and so, reports of a £3 million bid for Southampton’s Sam Gallagher strike me as having enough in them to qualify for a strong possibility ranking.

I think there is every chance that Southampton would be willing to sell Sam Gallagher, who scored twelve times during his season long loan at Blackburn, this summer and, with only one year left on his contract, the asking price for him would probably not be prohibitive. Still, it would be a signal that City were now more serious about a proper promotion bid than they have been since the days when Ole Solskjaer was in charge – I wouldn’t be surprised if we have targeted him, but I’d say it would be long odds on us getting him.

At just 21 and with some Premier League experience as a teenager, Gallagher looks to be an attractive proposition for a team in City’s current position, not just because of what he could offer on the pitch, but also in terms of the resale value he would have if he were to succeed at Cardiff.

Yes, a season long loan at relegated Blackburn gives ammunition to anyone who would want to argue against such a signing, but I’ve seen and read little to suggest that Gallagher was a failure at Ewood Park – on the contrary, the main reason why I feel we are unlikely to get him if our interest in him is really serious enough to run to a £3 million bid, is that so called bigger Championship clubs than us will be in for him if Southampton decide to sell.

Before finishing, I should say that in the final Wales Online Blakey’s Boot Room podcast of the season last week, it was said that the club have told members of the local media that the summer arrivals will be players whose names supporters will immediately recognise – I don’t think a few of those I’ve mentioned here would fall into that category, so maybe we are going to see a more ambitious approach by those in charge of the club’s purse strings, but, if pressed, I’d still say that we will be lower mid table when it comes to player budgets in the Championship for 2017/18.

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9 Responses to Weekly Review 14/5/17.

  1. Barry Cole says:

    Some great speculation Paul on the likelihood of players arriving in the next month or so. You cover all the areas I would say are key ones except one.
    I don’t see a position which we have been crying out for now for years.
    The midfield player who can take out defenders and create openings for the forwards we have lacked big style.
    It’s a position that will cost money and I do believe that Warnock sees this as his main target along with a forward.
    It needs a player like Charlie Adam although I am not a great fan of his, you can guess why, but that’s the type of player we need.
    Your thought provoking ways of deducing the likely candidates is brilliant and have to agree you are right throughout. But by that I do see a lot of money available for those two positions.
    Make no mistake there was not many managers who could have brought the fan interest back to the club and all credit to NW in doing just that. In saying that we’ll done to tan who I believe has now An understanding of exactly what is needed in running a football club. Although he hasn’t been here much I really think he is now managing just that.
    Can’t wait to see the strips for next season as I think we will see the last of the red. Would love our retro blue kit back with the yellow/white. I would love to know what the sales figures are for this years shirts both blue and re, I don’t think they would be great. The marketing side must look at getting more in once the money is spent on players

  2. Colin Phillips says:

    Thanks, Paul.

    Yes it’s fascinating time of year.

    Speculation does very little harm, if any.

    I find it difficult to believe that we will be able to attract the names we want – past events are probably still fleshing lots of players’ minds.

    I’ve seen a young mid-field playing for Gillingham, Bradley Dack, who might fill the creativity we need but earlier in the season he was being mentioned as being of interest to some of the London clubs but his team have struggled this season and I haven’t of any recent interest. Is there any hope that we would be able to attract someone like that. Perhaps we can discover a player in the same way that we ‘found’ Kenneth Zohore!!!

    That would be nice.

    Anyway we will have few weeks of dreaming and there will be the inevitable disappointments but it is only game

  3. Colin Phillips says:

    Fleshing – fresh in.

    Sorry about the errors – having problems with my I-pad.

  4. Anthony O'Brien says:

    A fascinating summary of what might be, Paul, revealing yet again the depth of knowledge you possess about footballers and football.

    For my part. I think we need a genuinely creative midfield general to provide the sort of passes that Zohore (if he’s still with us next season) could thrive on. I was surprised and somewhat disappointed that, at some time during the season, Adeyemi and Emyr Hughes did not come up to expectations (at least, as far as team selection was concerned). It seemed to me that both had the potential to shine if given the opportunity, and I still feel that both would be an asset to Cardiff City. But, we have to assume that the manager knows best.

    Equally, on reading Paul’s report, I wondered if a certain centre forward already on the books has become like Macbeth to the acting profession — never to be referred to by name. Unless I’m missing some earlier news, has Gounongbe become totally persona non grata, and if so, why? The bad press he received (and also taunts from a section of Cardiff fans) when missing an apparently easy goal chance (which in fact was far from easy) has, it appears, doomed him to total exclusion. In an ideal world he would come back like the Prodigal Son and surprise us all.

    In terms of coming back, I also look forward to the return of Idriss Saadi, who rather like the others was despatched into the wilderness, probably in his case because of unlucky injury.

    And then there is the much missed David Marshall. To judge from the hastily withdrawn tweet of his wife some months ago, she would like to be back in South Wales. I am bound to wonder whether she might put some discreet marital pressure on him, especially given the fact that he is not Numero Uno at Hull and, presumably, will be on reduced wages in the Championship — or is that just a pipe dream?

    All that being said, I look forward to the opening of the transfer window, and to the continued excellent analysis of Paul and the other contributors to this very blog.Next season cannot come quick enough!

  5. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Good to see these reviews attracting some high quality – my thanks to the three of you for that.

    Barry, I was thinking of the number ten type player you talk about as the second in the one or two strikers I’d like to see come in that I mentioned, but, you’re right, they would be more of a midfielder than a forward really. You and Colin mention a couple of candidates for the role, but I’m not sure either of them would fit the bill for us really. In the case of Charlie Adam, I’ve noticed that when he has played for Stoke in the last couple of seasons it’s been in a much deeper role than the one he had with Blackpool in the season when they beat us in the Play Off Final when I thought he was the best player in the Championship. In some ways Adam’s like Whitts in that he was never the quickest and most mobile of players and it seems that, at 31, he is well into the phase that so many attacking midfielders in their thirties go through as they get towards the end of their career, they work their way further and further away from the area of the pitch where they used to be so effective – Adam would be a good signing for us if we could afford his wages (there’s also a feeling in the local media at Stoke that the club will offer him a new deal if they don’t get some of the players they’ve targeted this season), but, rather like Jason Koumas in his second spell with us, we may not end up getting the type of player we hoped we were.

    As for Colin’s suggestion of Bradley Dack, a year ago I would have agreed with him. However his goals dried up this season (six as against fifteen in 2015/16 and ten in 2014/15) and, from a distance, it looks like he was some way short of the standards he had set for himself when he was nominated as League One Player of the Year twelve months ago Perhaps his decline in form owes something to this story
    which would, surely, have been on his mind for most of the season just ended.

    Reading that and the fact that he has been booked twenty nine times in the last three seasons (he was also red carded twice last season) makes me think Mr Dack might take quite a bit of managing and, like Adam, we could expect him to miss a few games suspended if he came here. However, he also sounds like the type of player Neil Warnock quite likes to manage and, with just one year left on his contract, Gillingham might be prepared to sell at a lower price than the £2 million they turned down from Bristol City last summer – Dack’s relatively poor 2016/17 might work in our favour as it could put him into the sort of price range we could afford, he’d be an interesting signing because he’s clearly pretty talented, but I’m not sure Warnock would want to pay a seven figure sum for someone who has not played at this level before.

    Anthony, truth is I forgot about Gounongbe. However, like Saadi, it would not surprise me if he has played his last game for the club and I can see loan moves to the continent for the two of them next season if we can’t sell them.

    As for David Marshall, my suspicion is it’s a question of priorities with out manager. If he thinks he is able to get, say, Camp and Etheridge for a relatively small outlay, that means more can be spent on the players in other positions who will command a transfer fee – we’re not going to get a striker of the quality we need on a free or a Bosman. With Hull now down, maybe a loan move for Marshall or McGregor should not be ruled out, but I’d still say it’s much more likely that Camp and, possibly, Etheridge will be with us next season.

  6. Colin Phillips says:

    Paul, I was trying to make about Bradley Dack wasn’t so much about him being a useful acquisition, more about the likelihood of a player of his ilk actually wanting to play for us.

    Thanks for the background on him, it’s very likely those off the field problems affected his play.

  7. Michael Spear says:

    In my opinion Paul, the central midfield needs strengthening just as much as up front. A quick, creative midfielder in the mode of Barry Bannon or Cairney of Fulham would do the team wonders. We have been walked over in too many games in midfield over the last few seasons.

  8. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Hello Spedger, good to see you posting on here.

  9. Michael Spear says:

    Only recently realised there was a feedback option within the site Paul. Usually come here via the ‘Decade’s Quiz’ so do not usually look at the other articles. I will religiously tap into the weekly reviews from hereon. By the way to add on to review 14/05/17, I can’t see why Kadeem is stalling on signing or not signing a new contract. I don’t think he has been consistent enough and his whole game is not mature enough to command an above average championship salary. He has been good and affective in patches, but in my opinion makes far too many mistakes, does not read the game well and goes missing too often. I can only imagine or assume his salary was the same as the terms he signed when moving up from the youth/development team and now should be inline with first team championship salaries.

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