A quieter week on the transfer front, but, even so, it wasn’t all just the usual speculation that you get at this time of the year – Cardiff City were involved in one deal, this time it was someone leaving the club. Left back Andrew Taylor was sold to Wigan Athletic – actually, I say “sold”, but given away would be a more accurate description if the reports about Wigan only having to pay a fee in the event of them being promoted are true!
Having praised the club last week for the way they have gone about their business this summer, both in terms of the players brought in and the timing of the signings, I believe that letting someone who was a virtual ever present in a Championship winning team from only a year ago leave on a free with just the possibility of us receiving a sum if the buying club gets promoted undoes some of the good work we saw in May – especially when the player concerned had two years of his contract left and, at 27, it could be said that his best years are still in front of him.
Taylor struggled badly during the second half of the season just finished – after missing games through injury, he was poor in the embarrassing home defeats by Hull and Palace and, by the end of the campaign, seemed to be behind Fabio and Declan John in the pecking order at left back. However, I think Taylor got it right when he said he’d had two and a half good years at Cardiff. Although he had his messageboard critics, I thought he was a very reliable performer at Championship level and he didn’t do too badly during last autumn in the Premier League either.
I’m speculating here, but it’s a fact that, under Malky Mackay, Taylor was our left back every week unless he was injured or suspended and it seems to me that he is one of those players in the “old guard” who the new man in charge didn’t fancy much (judging by the way they were treated by Ole, I’d say Aron Gunnarsson and, possibly, Ben Turner fit into that category as well) – if I’m right, then it’s probably for the best that he left, but I still say we could have got a decent (say, £500,000?) fee for him.
It could well be that Fraizer Campbell will also be leaving soon – City want to keep him, but recently promoted Leicester have put in a bid which meets the release clause in his contract and you have to think that our striker will accept the chance to stay in the Premier League. With that release clause only being set at £800,000 it seems that, once again, City will not be getting value for money, but I wouldn’t blame them too much this time because it could well have been that Campbell would not have signed for us eighteen months ago without the club agreeing to such a clause.
On the subject of release clauses, it was being reported early in the week that Jordon Mutch to Sunderland for £1,500,000 (the value of his release clause we were told) was virtually a done deal. The club denied that this was the case and my understanding is that the release clause in this case is quite a bit higher than the figure used – subsequently, the Sunderland fan whose messageboard “exclusive” started all of the rumours admitted he had made the whole thing up, but this didn’t stop some papers from reporting that Gus Poyet would be coming in with another bid!
It seems that Arsenal had a bid of £6 million for David Marshall rejected as well with it being reported that City wanted another £9 million on top of that before they’d sell. Assuming that is true, it remains to be seen if the club’s resolve will be as strong in, say, two months time, but, if it is, then maybe “Scotland’s number one” will be with us for next season because, for £15 million, clubs will be looking to sign a first choice keeper and I don’t believe that the teams who would look on him as their no. 1 goalkeeper (i.e. those outside last season’s top seven) would be willing to pay such a fee.
On the players coming in front, there have been stories that we are after Palermo diver Kyle Lafferty, Palace’s Kagisho Dikgacoi and that we have offered £2 million for Legia Warsaw’s left winger Michal Zyro. In all three cases, our chances of landing the player don’t look great because it’s reported that we are in competition with Premier League clubs for their signature – in Lafferty’s case it’s Palace and QPR (they’re welcome to him as far as I’m concerned!), Leicester are, seemingly, in for Dikgacoi, while 21 year old Zyro (who won his first full cap for Poland when he came on as a sub in midweek in their 2-1 win over Lithuania) is, apparently, a target of Stoke’s with two German clubs being interested in him as well.
The story about Lafferty also mentions that City are interested in signing Palermo goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano if Marshall does leave. Viviano spent last season on loan at Arsenal, but ended up not playing a single minute for the first team and it seems odd that someone who was winning full caps for Italy three years ago should now find himself restricted to very occasional appearances for the Gunner’s Development side. Seemingly, Viviano’s move to Arsenal was a gamble because he figured that he had little chance of making Italy’s World Cup squad while playing in Serie B with Palermo. That makes sense to me, but it also makes it pretty unlikely he would be willing to come to Cardiff – I may be proved wrong, but I don’t see much mileage in this story.
Finally, there was confirmation a few days ago of something that had seemed pretty obvious for a few weeks. Bournemouth’s Lewis Grabban signed for Norwich thereby ending all speculation about a player we had a bid of £3 million accepted for last month, but, even with Campbell’s likely departure, the signings of Javi Guerra, Frederico Macheda and Adam LeFondre had this one looking very unlikely for some time.