Weekly review 25/6/17.

With the City players reporting back for training in the next seven days, I think Neil Warnock can feel satisfied as to how successful he has been in his stated aim of getting much of his incoming transfer business done early so that our arrivals can get a full pre season programme behind them at their new club.

Having secured the signatures of four players already, Friday saw the expected confirmation of the signing of Rotherham forward Danny Ward on a three year contract and, unlike with Messrs Camp, Etheridge, Mendez-Laing and Paterson (who we did have to pay a compensation fee of around £450,000 for), Ward arrives with an “undisclosed” transfer fee to his name.

Various reports I’ve seen put the fee we paid for Ward as anywhere between £1 and £1.6 million pounds once all of the add ons are accounted for. Whatever the truth, we’ve paid considerably less than the figure Ward was valued at in January when his old club turned down three bids for him (wouldn’t be surprised if one of them was from us).

With Warnock saying that the man he had managed before when he turned around Rotherham’s 2015/16 season can play on either wing, as a number ten or up front by himself, it seems to me that our manager sees Ward as a replacement for Anthony Pilkington who, it appears, we are prepared to listen to bids for.

Indeed a look at this video of goals scored by Ward during his spell at Huddersfield from 2011/15 had me thinking I was watching a reel of Pilks’ best moments with the same club nearly a decade ago.

However, to repeat something I said on a City messageboard this week, I’d say that any objective analysis of the two men’s careers up to now would have to conclude that Pilkington has been the more successful and talented player.

In saying that, I suppose the most relevant argument has to be how do the two of them compare now and, with Ward having netted twelve times last season for a team that had the worst record of any Championship club since our return to this level in 2003, and Pilks providing flashes, but no more than that, of his best in 16/17, our new man probably looks the better bet to be successful for us next season.

While the goals tend not be as spectacular in this more recent Ward video, there is evidence to suggest that he may be the sort of penalty area poacher we have tended to lack in the last couple of seasons.

When Neil Warnock talked about the transfer business he wanted to do this summer, he tended to say that he was looking at four or five new players, so it seems to me that we have seen the bulk of our incoming transfer business done already. However, the impression I got recently was that we were in the running for a striker (which turned out to be Ward), as well as Jonny Hayes, who moved to Celtic from Aberdeen a week or two ago, not one or the other, so you would assume that we are still in the market for another player in the Hayes mould.

Obviously, things would change if one of our current stalwarts like Sean Morrison was sold following a bigger bid from the likes of Sheffield Wednesday or Bruno Manga chose not to stay with us and I notice that there were reports linking Aron Gunnarsson with Maccabi Tel Aviv in the week.

There has been good news on the contract front in recent weeks as a succession of first team squad members have agreed new deals with the club, but Gunnarsson’s name has been conspicuous by it’s absence so far and this is a worry with the Iceland captain’s current contract due to run out in a year’s time.

So, it’s certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility that City would be looking to get a fee for the man who is now our longest serving first teamer (in terms of when he made his debut for us at least) this summer if the signs were not good about him agreeing to extend his stay at Cardiff,

Even if Gunnarsson stays though, the departure of Peter Whittingham, the almost certain departure of Tom Adeyemi and the likely departure of Emyr Huws would leave us looking light on options in central midfield and so now may be good time to mention this story from a few weeks ago. I thought it was a longshot at the time and still do now, not least because there would, surely, be tremendous competition for such  a player on a Bosman, but N’Doye would appear to possess the leadership and genuine box to box qualities that some say we lack in the middle of the park.

More likely for me is that Warnock might start looking at the loan market now, particularly if someone like Manga is retained, as we may see a “balancing of the books” becoming more of a priority.

Moving on to other things. Although I suspect everyone who reads this will be aware of them by now, here’s a list of our fixtures for 17/18 – two games stand out for me, a very attractive first home league match of the campaign against Villa and a Boxing Day home encounter with the most entertaining side in last season’s Championship.

Staying on the subject of fixtures, hardly surprisingly given the League Cup draw last week, the only scheduled home pre season fixture, against Portsmouth on 28 July, has been cancelled. The fact that Pompey have been able to announce a replacement game, at Crawley, for that weekend shows that it is not impossible to arrange another fixture at such short notice, but I can’t help thinking that, for the second consecutive season, we are not going to see a pre season game at Cardiff City Stadium.

One thing  that should be emphasised though is that the game at Hereford arranged this week for 25 July is not a first team fixture – it’s been advertised by the club as a match involving “A squad predominantly made up of Bluebirds U23s players”.

Finally, Kenneth Zohore added to his burgeoning reputation last night with a very influential performance in the European Under 21 Championships in Poland, Mysteriously confined to the substitutes bench for Denmark’s defeats by Italy and Germany, the City striker started as the Dane’s bowed out of the tournament by beating the Czech Republic 4-2 with Kenneth contributing two goals and two assists.

If you can stand the small screen and the advert which breaks in a few minutes into the video, there are ten minutes of highlights from the game here – I’m sure Kenneth was one of the players the commentator was referring to when he talks at the end about the Danish coach regretting previous selections.



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6 Responses to Weekly review 25/6/17.

  1. Barry Cole says:

    Hi Paul although not commenting I have watched with interest your weekly reports.
    Bar for Paterson I am Luke warm on the signings and still see, like you, that box to box creative midfielder which we have lacked for the last few years.
    Names have been banded about but I really think warnock has a bit left in his community chest.
    This next few weeks I think we will see a number of players leaving and on their day those players maybe better than the ones coming in. Unfortunately the consistency just hasn’t been there. On his day no one was unplayable and pilkington was good until he was asked to play a centre forward role by slade which was never him.
    Although we won’t see Paterson until the season has started I do think this signing will be a winner.
    So we will have to see if NW sees what we see and whether we sign the player who will bring the creative final part of the jigsaw puzzle that is Cardiff City
    Not long now

  2. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Everyone rightly says that Cardiff are still in need of a genuine box-to-box player. But we’ve had one on our books for three years. I know that Tom Adeyemi’s contract ends in August, but I think that Cardiff might well regret not giving him an opportune to play and to shine, as he has done while out on loan. Now it’s almost certainly too late. I wonder if something had gone on behind the scenes to account for his lack of opportunity with us.
    Although as always I am really looking forward to the new season, I hope that Mr Warnock’s transfer activity is still in progress. The team is manifestly not complete as yet.

  3. BJA says:

    Paul – Thanks for the review of the past seven days, but nothing really new has happened other than the confirmation of Ward’s arrival and the somewhat worrying news that there are interested parties in Gunnars. Hope these reports come to nought.
    I watched the whole of the Danish U 21’s match last night and our Ken put in an impressive shift. Two goals and two assists ( the second being a very unselfish act ) will no doubt caught the eyes of watching representatives of “bigger” clubs.
    The interesting fact about both of his goals was that they were virtually taken beyond the last defender. However, looking at some of Ward’s goals, he seems to want to get in front of the last defender. Now if NW was prepared to play both, and we can provide a decent supply of balls into the area from either side, then we could well prosper.
    Incidentally, there was another Danish stand out player last evening by the name of Lucas Anderson, an attacking midfielder according to “Transfer Market”, whose value is somewhere near £1 million but contracted with Grasshoppers until 2020. As our Ken and he played so well together, it might be worth NW asking our owner for some more loose change for a cheeky bid. Not likely I know, but I can dream.
    We do need to strengthen midfield, and if there are to be any more arrivals, they must surely be for that department. As mentioned in one of my earlier responses, N’Daye looks useful, but as you state, there will be competition for his signature.
    Finally, I have seen no news as to the future of Bruno whose contract will end at the end of this week. Just hope that he will stay.

  4. Russell says:

    Thanks Paul for your weekly review, its good news a new striker is in the bank , now for the big test, will he get a goal or two early on before the known pressures arrive for newly signed strikers who fail to hit the ground running ,other than the goalkeeper , these positions are unforgiving when it comes to new signing pressures.

    Midfield still worries me , and has done for many years ,including the premiership year. We need that Barton/Nolan player and a playmaker and I dont think we have got it right yet.

    Perhaps controversly we should sell Gunnerson and go for a clean sweep in an area , fresh blood ,ideas ,could be what’s required for what in reality is our engine and creative space ,essential to feeding our strikers quickly and effectively.

    Hopefully the defence is a set group, if Manga signs , that becomes a reality .

  5. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Thanks all for your replies – a few quick thoughts by way of reply;-
    1. Barry, I see Neil Warnock is talking in terms of three more new players, at least one of whom has to be a central midfielder with some creativity to his game – as it stands we’re going to be buggered if one of Ralls or Gunnarsson pick up an injury that keeps them out for weeks.
    2. Anthony, I don’t think Adeyemi’s cause was helped when the man who signed him lost the manager’s job a couple of months after he came here. There are stories this morning that one of Ipswich or Norwich are going to sign him, but I’d be surprised if the latter are really after him. If they are, then it does make you wonder whether we’re right not to offer him a new deal – for myself, he’s a lower level Championship player.
    3. BJA, I did some research on Lucas Anderson and found that he wears the number ten jersey for Grasshoppers and played in nearly all of their games last season. It doesn’t always follow that the player with a number ten allocated to him is the creative hub of the team he plays for, but it very often is the case and I would have thought that his club would be very reluctant to sell – given this and a good performance for his country’s Under 21 side in a competition which is, no doubt, watched avidly by the scouting staff of clubs all over the continent, I think that £1 million valuation is probably on the low side and so he may be out of our financial reach, but there’d be no harm in finding out if this was the case would there!
    4. Russell, this time last year I would have agreed with you about Gunnar, but I’d be very surprised if we could get better than him with the proceeds from his sale when he has just one year left on his contract – I’d keep him and use him in the role he plays for his country.

  6. BJA says:

    Paul – Just a couple of follow ups from earlier comments – so delighted that Bruno will be with us for two more years, an absolutely brilliant signing.
    I found a video of Andersen;s performances when with Ajax, very very impressive. High energy with great skill and he will be 23 in September. His agent has mostly Swedish players on his books, but my man is one of his most valuable, but still shown as about £1 million. Go on City, make an enquiry. Still dreaming!!

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