It’s time for part three of my ongoing 20 part series previewing this summer’s Premier League Transfers. This segment will cover Cardiff City, who will join fellow Welsh team Swansea City in the Premier League this year, following promotion from the Championship.
Last Season: Cardiff City were winners of the Championship, relying on a strong defense to capture the title. As with most newly-promoted teams, Cardiff will need to add quite a bit in order to stay up.
Forwards: This will be a problem area for Cardiff. Last year, neither of their leading goalscorers in the Championship were forwards, and their top goalscorer in all competitions, Heidar Helguson, scored only 9; Helguson was released recently, leaving Cardiff sorely lacking options up top. The strike force is currently led by two players: Welshman Craig Bellamy and the Englishman Frazier Campbell. Bellamy has the most Premier League experience of anyone in the side, but was more of a provider than a goalscorer last season, dishing out 10 assists as compared to just 4 goals. Campbell arrived in January from Sunderland, and shone, scoring 7 goals in just 12 games. Cardiff will need a similar performance this year. Joe Mason and Tommy Smith are also among the top strikers for Cardiff, although neither were particularly impressive last season, and both lack experience in the top flight. Nicky Maynard and Rudy Gestede suffer from similar problems. The team is looking at a few strikers. Lyon’s Bafetimbi Gomis, rated at 12 million pounds, is a major target, although rival Swansea has also shown interest. Danny Graham could move back to Wales as well, as he finds himself a transfer target. Disgruntled West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie is also a target, although he will be rusty after barely playing last season. Free agent Carlton Cole has also had his name bandied about. Looking towards the future, 17 year old Tyler Harvey of Plymouth Argyle has been the subject of a bid.
Cardiff may switch things up this season to find more goals. To help with this- and to give themselves the flexibility to play formations other than a 4-4-2- Cardiff has pursued a number of wingers. Chief among them are Salomon Kalou, formerly of Chelsea and currently of Lyon, and Liverpool’s Oussama Assaidi, who struggled to find playing time last year. Cardiff has also shown interest in Reading’s Hal Robson-Kanu, who has drawn the interest of West Brom and Aston Villa as well. St. Etienne’s Max Gradel has ruled out a move back to the Premier League; previously, Cardiff had him down as a top target. Recently, former Liverpool winger Dirk Kuyt has emerged as a legitimate option for Cardiff, as he would provide the team with both goals and valuable experience. The young Blackpool winger Tom Ince is also a target. It is rumored that Cardiff are currently finalizing an 8 million pound deal for the Englishman. Bristol City’s Ghanian international Albert Adomah has also drawn interest.
Midfielders: Cardiff had a solid midfield last season, but are looking to add depth. Center Midfielders Aron Gunnarsson and Peter Whittingham led the team with 8 goals apiece last season. Whittingham is a versatile player who can also player winger or second striker. On the oustide, Craig Noone and Craig Conway are the starters, although any of Cardiff’s new wingers could play outside mid. Some feel that Conway may not be cut out for the top flight. Kim Bo-Kyung, Don Cowie and Jordan Mutch also saw time in the midfield with Byo-Kyung and Cowie playing on the outside and Mutch in the center. The team’s top midfield target is Brighton’s Liam Bridcutt, who has also drawn the interest of Hull City. Crystal Palace’s young attacking midfielder Jonathan Williams has also been linked with Cardiff. Feynoord have refused to confirm speculation that Lex Immers could be on the move to Cardiff.
Defenders: This was the team’s strongest position last season. Matthew Connolly and Andrew Taylor led the outside backs, while captain Mark Hudson and Ben Turner held things down in the middle. Kevin McNaughton turned in yet another solid year at right back, and he was rewarded with a new contract. 20 year old Ben Nugent looks to build on a solid season and earn himself some more playing time. Former Everton centerback Joseph Yobo could bring much needed experience to the side, and it is rumored the Newcastle’s Mike Williamson is interested in playing again for his former manager Mackay. Norwich City’s Leon Barnett spent part of last season on loan with Cardiff, and City are looking to make the move permanent.
Goalkeepers: David Marshall started last year for Cardiff and performed quite well. Currently, there are no goalkeepers linked with the team.
Manager: Malkay Mackay did well last year. Cardiff City dominated, and from week 18 to the final week the team held a firm grip on first place. But as Southampton’s Nigel Adkins and Reading’s Brian McDermott showed last season, promotion is not enough for a manager to keep his job. Staying up will be vital to Mackay’s.
Potentially In: Bafetimbi Gomis, Danny Graham, Peter Odemwingie, Carlton Cole, Tyler Harvey, Salomon Kalou, Hal Robson-Kanu, Oussama Assaidi, Dirk Kuyt, Max Gradel, Tom Ince, Joseph Yobo, Mike Williamson, Jonathan Williams, Liam Bridcutt, Albert Adomah, Leon Barnett, Lex Immers
Potentially Out: None
Already In: None
Already Out: Heidar Helguson, Stephen McPhail