If they are going to concentrate on their club during the summer months, then, surely, supporters want to spend their time speculating on new signings and prospects for the new season rather than arguing about “re-branding” issues? Thankfully, this week has allowed those of us who would welcome more chances to talk about football related Cardiff City items the chance to do so with our third signing of the summer being announced amid reports that we could be closing in on one or two other targets.
The new player is Slovenian striker Etien Velikonja who is joining us from NK Maribor for a fee generally reckoned to be just over £1 million. The transfer is a slightly unusual one in that Velikonja will have his medical and, assuming there are no problems revealed, sign for us after playing for Maribor in their Champions League qualifying tie with Željeznikar (the second leg is on July 25). As for what sort of player Velikonja is, well I, like virtually every other Cardiff fan I would guess, can only look at videos like this one and draw their own conclusions - mine are that although almost any player can be made to look good on You Tube, he looks quick and can finish.
Besides that, when Maribor called the press conference on Thursday to announce his departure, there were Fulham fans who assumed it would reveal that he was coming to their club. So, it would appear that Velikonja is someone who clubs at a higher level than us have had their eyes on. That was certainly the case back in 2009 when the player gained the first of his two caps for his country and was being featured in articles such as this one (he’s number thirty in the list), but it would appear that, despite scoring twenty times in forty six matches for Maribor since signing for them last year (Malky Mackay talked of trying to to get him to sign for Watford at that time), his career has stalled a little since then. Why this should be is hard to say, but he came off the bench when scoring against Rangers in a Champions League qualifier this time last year and was also a sub (once unused) in Maribor’s two Europa League matches with Birmingham last season.
Add in the fact that Velikonja will be a youngster trying to come to terms with a new club to play for and country to live in and, perhaps, it would be realistic not to expect him to be banging in goals left, right and centre as soon as he puts a Cardiff shirt on. Maybe it would be best not to expect too much too soon from South Korean International Kim Bo-Kyung if, as is being reported in the Far East, he joins us for a fee in the region of £2 million from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka either. Twenty two year old winger cum midfield player Bo-Kyung has won thirteen caps for his country since making his debut for them in 2010 and so I presume getting a work permit would not be a problem.
As is mentioned by one of the people replying to the story linked above, the possibility of us being used by an agent to try and promote interest in his client cannot be discounted, but, if there is any truth to the story, then we are close to signing a player linked to Stoke last year and dubbed the new Park Ji-Sung by the former Manchester United man himself – here’s the obligatory you tube video.
There are also plenty on the messageboards who’ll tell you that Craig Bellamy to Cardiff is a done deal. However, with the Sun reporting that the player is on his way to QPR and stories this morning about no deal being completed until after Great Britain’s involvement in the Olympics football tournament is ended, it could be that this is one of those deals which Malky Mackay was saying could go right to the wire last week?
Of course, the re-branding/financial theme is never far away and, in a quiet week as far as the change of kit is concerned, what attention there was centred on this story about the ongoing negotiations regarding the Langston debt. With accusations flying around about the club going back on an original offer and Sam Hammam adding on a promotion bonus to the sum we were told he was prepared to settle on, it’ll be interesting to see whether those sat in the Canton and Family Stands will still have behind the goals views when we pitch up for the Newcastle friendly in four weeks time – given the way both parties appear to be moving the goalposts about in this boring saga, they’ll be in front of the dug out and on the half way line on the Ninian Stand side of the ground.