Weekly review 8/7/16.

Coymay

With a welcome home party later today in which an expected crowd of 30,000 will flock to Cardiff City Stadium and, no doubt, thousands more who will line the route of an open top bus journey from the city centre to the ground this afternoon to show their appreciation of the men responsible for Wales’ fantastic Euro 2016 campaign, attention has certainly not shifted from international to club football yet.

However, as the reality hits that Cardiff City will be kicking off their 2016/17 Championship season at Birmingham in less than a month’s time, it won’t be long before talk switches to how City are expected to do in a division where some clubs are already spending significant money as they attempt to secure a return (or a first ever visit) to the Premier League and it’s riches.

Although it will never be forgotten, Wales’ run to the Semi Finals of the European Championship will, gradually, be put on to the back burner for a couple of months until the 2018 World Cup qualification process begins with a home match against Moldova in early September.

Therefore, at the start of this process where Cardiff City will start to dominate again for a while, it seems a good time to include some thoughts on how Wales’ success will, and could, impact on the capital city club while also keeping up to date on events at the club during this week.

Starting with City related news, I was a little surprised to see the club confirm that Kenneth Zohore had signed a permanent deal with us on a three year contract. The fee involved was described as “undisclosed, but when you consider that it was reported that K.V Kortrijk had paid around £1 million for him during the convoluted procedure in January whereby they loaned him to us as a way of overcoming our transfer embargo, then you have to believe City should be paying something similar – who is to know for sure though when you are talking about someone moving from one Vincent Tan owned club to another one?

I say “surprised”, because my thinking was that Zohore would be headed back to Kortrijk following the signing of Frédéric Gounongbe last week, but the surprise is a pleasant one – I don’t think there’s any need to add much to the following, which was my messageboard reaction to the news he’s signed for us;-

“When you’ve watched a player turning out for City for three months you usually think you’ve got a good idea as to how to rate him, but I can honestly foresee a set of circumstances which see us letting Zohore go after a season or so as we try to cut our losses and another one where we sell him for millions of pounds.

For most of his substitute appearances at home he made little impact when he came on and he was one of many in the team who didn’t turn up at Hillsborough in our most important game of the season. However, he did well at Middlesbrough when he came on, even better at Burnley and we may have got a draw if he had been brought on earlier against a Brentford team who probably finished the season as the Championship’s most in form side – I think it’s encouraging that he made his biggest impact against good teams.

I’d assumed that he’d be going back to Kortrijk after the signing of Frédéric Gounongbe, but, overall I’m pleased we’ve taken what is a bit of a punt on him – he’s got pace, power and some aerial ability, so plenty of the basic ingredients are there and, hopefully, he can add consistency to his game over the coming months.”

Instead of Zohore heading back to Belgium. it’s Idriss Saadi who is heading that way. I mentioned his loan move to Kortrijk in my last weekly review and said that my understanding was that it was for all of the coming season, but had seen nothing to confirm this – the club have now done so in this story from their website.

Kenneth Zohore, now a

Kenneth Zohore, now a “proper” Cardiff City player, but will he sink without trace or swim like a fish at his new club?

Deji Oshilaja has also left for what will be third loan spell at Gillingham. Again the deal is for the whole season and, while it’s good to see him getting the likelihood of regular first team football, I also find it somewhat disappointing that he’s still not thought to be good enough to have a first team squad role at his parent club. Futhermore, when you consider how much time he’s spent out on loan while, seemingly, being surplus to first team requirements at Cardiff, you do have to question the logic of continuing to offer him contracts with the club – he’ll be twenty four by the time his latest loan runs out.

Although Deji isn’t Welsh, he’s been at City since he was sixteen or seventeen and, on the face of it, he would seem to fall into the category of the sort of “home grown” players who the club wanted to see being given more encouragement that there could be more of a way into the first team for them than they ever got under Russell “What’s an Academy?” Slade.

The truth is that Deji is probably a bit on the old side to be the sort of player that was being thought of when there was all of that talk of a new approach to youth development under Paul Trollope, but I’d like to think that, with the Wales success story this summer, this will prove to be something more than just hollow words.

City have been handed a huge opportunity on the back of the Welsh campaign in France and it would be criminal for them to waste it. With this in mind, I’m slightly concerned that so far the players we’ve signed this summer can all be linked to the Kortrijk link up.

As someone who was pleased with the Lex Immers signing, is adopting a wait and see approach towards Gounongbe and has shown above that I’m quite happy with the Zohore signing, my concern is not with any perceived lack of quality with them, but more that the suspicion is growing that our transfer committee only seems to be interested in players based in mainland Europe.

Just as it’s always been, the talk is that it is the manager who has the final say when it comes to proposed new signings, but it would be nice to see some proof that we are prepared to buy British if the right player becomes available because it would tend to suggest that Paul Trollope is playing a prominent role in our player recruitment.

How does all of this have anything to do with Wales then? Well, I’ve been thinking all summer that it would be a shrewd move by City if they looked to bring in one or more players currently involved with the national team – provided such player(s) were good enough to make a positive contribution to the first team squad, there would also be the probable bonus of season tickets being sold as a result of such a signing.

Now of course, there are certain Welsh squad members who have always been out of City’s financial range and others who have probably moved into that category on the back of their exploits in France over the past month, but I’d say some of those mentioned in this piece  are possible targets who may be enthused at the idea of coming to Cardiff to work with three of the men in Chris Coleman’s highly regarded backroom staff.

With regard to Welsh players who didn’t make it to France, I’d say that someone like Emyr Huws could, perhaps, provide qualities that our central midfield is thought to lack and he could do it at a price you’d like to think we could afford (particularly if some of the players I think may leave this summer end up doing so). Also, as someone who you would have thought would be a regular in future Welsh squads, he would also encompass the feelgood factor which is around the national team currently.

Even before Wales’ exploits, there was a degree of positivity around the club thanks to the change of manager, better performances through the first three months of the year and the increased season tickets sales and attendances. As mentioned earlier, the club has a fantastic opportunity, which probably won’t last too long, to add greatly to the reconnection with supporters which has been something of a work in progress since Ken Choo arrived.

Having read that Aaron Ramsey has been told not to bother reporting back to Arsenal until 1 August, I suppose there has to be the slight possibility that Paul Trollope will not be back at Cardiff City next week as preparations for the new season continue, but I’d be amazed if that was the case and so I look forward seeing some proof soon that he is not the yes man to Vincent Tan that some perceive him as being.

Right back to the days of Sam Hammam, supporters have been able to make pretty educated guesses as to who at the club had been the driving force behind certain signings. For example, Chopra and McPhail were Ridsdale signings, Kevin Cooper was a Jones signing, Don Cowie was a Mackay signing and Lee Peltier a Slade signing. Lately, most of our new players look like Tan/Choo/Dalman signings, I think it’s about time we saw at least one Trollope signing – I reckon we need to if City are to truly grasp the chance they have been given by Chris Coleman’s team,

 

 

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7 Responses to Weekly review 8/7/16.

  1. russell roberts says:

    I decided not to ” flock ” anywhere instead a nice glass of port and watch the Tennis, it was nice to see the smiley faces making their brave way into the traffic congestion of Cardiff ( brave souls ). Lets hope the team feel the welcome in the hillsides and get a deserved well earned break .
    Nearly back to the bread and butter of real football and the misery that brings ( hooray I here you shout Paul )

    I think the coaching staff must have seen some issues with Saddi ,perhaps he is very injury prone,as I am sure we signed him injured ??.

    Zohore I thinks was signed just to say “we signed someone honest ” at best he is a bench man in the vain of Leo Fortune – West and probably support to the new lad Gounongbe , bloody players names today ,what happened to striking names such as Wyn and Ron Davies, maybe post Brexit it will change back Lol.

    We are getting mighty close to the season , hopefully Trollope’s leave has been cancelled, however singing players maybe beyond his reach anyway ,perhaps he will be allowed to suggest or put forward some names . If I had my way I would let Dr Ryland Morgans sign players based on performance only , he must know a few players with big engines and this league is all about that , even the success of Wales and Leicester has been built on that 90 minute effort and organisation .

    I would make Gunnerson my captain this year as he seems to revel in that role for his country , not keen on a keeper being captain, however good he is .

    Would like to see us play with three center backs Pelt’s , Manga and Connolly ,pity about Deji he may have have fitted into that system, I guess we will never find out ,as he is destined never to appear on the first team sheet ?

    Think our midfield just needs tweaking as Ralls . O’keefe are decent along with Whitt’s , I do wonder if Pilk’s or Noone will stay , of the two I’d keep Pilk’s for his versatility.

    Can’t wait to be back amongst the misery of Championship season , wonder if we will hear the chants “we want Slade back ” trouble is Noddy holder will never come out of retirement .

  2. The other Bob Wilson says:

    I never got the e-mail invite Russell, but I don’t think I would have gone anyway – I enjoyed the TV coverage.
    You’re right about “the misery” of a Championship season, in fact a defeat at Forest Green next week will probably see us plunged into crisis!
    Regarding Saadi, it may just be that he couldn’t settle in this country, but, you’re right, he was injured when we signed him.
    Ryland Morgans should have an input into transfer dealings – we’ve got a bit of an advantage over other Championship clubs with our connections to a successful international side and, as I mentioned in my piece, it would be sad to see us waste it.
    I’d be inclined to listen to offers for Gunnarsson for a couple of reasons – firstly, there are definite comparisons to how his career at Coventry went with an impressive start followed by a period of less effective play where he struggled to get in the side and, second, so many players have quiet seasons after appearing in international tournaments during the summer and I would have thought there is more likelihood of this happening if you are talking about career high moments like it was for most of the Iceland squad (of course, the same could apply to the Welsh squad members I want City to go after!).
    Did you see that QPR are supposed to be interested in Pilkington? I believe he’s one of a number of players we have whose contracts run out next summer, so I would be tempted to base any decision to sell purely on how much they are prepared to pay for him – Pilkington was good last season, but he’s hardly irreplaceable.
    Three at the back might work because Connolly and Manga can both play out from the back, but, unless you considered putting Peltier in there, we are down to only three realistic candidates to play there and one of those may miss the start of the season through injury – whatever system we use, you’d think that we need more cover in central defence and that’s why I was a bit disappointed to see Deji loaned out again.
    Think we need another central midfielder – as I mentioned, I wouldn’t mind seeing us go after Emyr Huws.
    Ken Choo was there last night and I’d be amazed if the thought “how do we get some of these people to come back here when Cardiff City are playing?” didn’t enter his mind. That’s one of the reasons why I wouldn’t totally discount a return to Cardiff for Joe Ledley this summer – we were supposed to be interested in him last year and it wouldn’t surprise me too much if Palace might be prepared to let him leave come August if they are able to get another midfielder in. When I mentioned this on the messageboard, someone said Tony Pulis would, almost certainly, be interested in taking him to West Brom – that’s a fair point, but if he was only allowed to leave on loan, would Palace want him to go to another Premier League side? If they didn’t, then Cardiff would appear to have a better chance of getting him than many others if they were interested.

  3. Anthony O'Brien says:

    Perhaps the Zahore loan deal only took place because Cardiff had subsequently to sign him willy-nilly?
    And what about Dikgacoi? Have I missed something? On his day he is premiership class in midfield. Has he gone backwards under the tender care of Cardiff City?

  4. Russell says:

    Yes do agree Anthony about Dikgacoi has the class, unfortunately he also looks weighty, and way off match fitness, an he slows up play.

    Its a strange issue our midfielders, on paper some would say wow ,but on the field less impressive.

  5. The other Bob Wilson says:

    My attitude towards Dikgacoi is that he must be on very good wages here if he was prepared to turn a contract offer from Palace in favour of coming here, so what has he done to justify those wages in his first two seasons at Cardiff? Russell is right about him seeming to be carrying too much weight and it’s never been properly explained why he missed virtually all of his first season at Cardiff and why, after a decent start to the campaign, he played so little during the second half of last season.
    Having done very little to justify what he is costing us in his first two seasons at Cardiff, I don’t see any reason for thinking things will be any different in his third year here and, as I believe he’s another one whose deal with the club runs out next summer, I’d make him available for transfer. However, the likelihood is that he’d not be offered a deal which compares to what he is getting here and so I’d be looking at a season long loan where we could at least get a proportion of his wages paid for by another club.
    It’s a shame, because I think we lack someone who could play as a holding midfielder in the way that Dikgacoi could at his best. An in form Gunnarsson could be used there, but I can’t help thinking that his best days at Cardiff are behind him now and, anyway, hew’s likely to have a disrupted pre season following his exploits with Iceland. As for the others, I think Joe Ralls could eventually end up as a defensive midfielder, but I feel his passing ability should be used in more advanced positions for now. I’d say the next best player suited to the position among our other professionals is probably young Robbie Patten who played his best football at youth level in that role and has handled the step up to the Under 21s well, but it would be a very big gamble to pitch him into the first team now, so I can’t help thinking that we are going to see another central midfielder come in before the window closes.

  6. Clive Harry says:

    Happy Sunday morning Paul and everybody.
    After the Euros, Wimbledon, and working in a school at examination time, I feel as if I’ve got my life back so it’s going to be a quiet week for me before a return to big time football over the next two Saturdays. Consequently, it’s Dover v Leyton Orient next Saturday and Barry v a City XI the week after!
    Not much to say about City at the moment but as somebody interested in development at the Club, I was also disappointed to see Oshilaja go already without even being looked at pre-season. The other players I will be looking out for are Tutonda and Healey. I think if there’s no breakthrough for them this season, they could be another two promising players who may be on their way out. I will be interested to see what PT’s attitude to ‘promising’ players under the age of 25 is!

  7. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Hello Clive, I’d say that the two strikers we’ve signed are pretty similar and, assuming LeFondre and Macheda are on their way out, I’d say the closest we have to a fox in the box type striker is Rhys Healey. You’d like to think that he is given some sort of chance to prove himself in our pre season games. As for David Tutonda, he has so many of the attributes which could make him a good Championship left sided player and I’d say it’s only in things on the mental side of the game that he short of currently – i get the feeling though that he may be loaned out again.

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