It says a lot about the pulling power of the Premier League – and the financial windfall, of course – that newly-promoted Cardiff City have been able to pick up a player of Gary Medel’s calibre. This is nothing against the Premier League new boys, but they are punching well above their weight; a compliment, if anything.
I love the scene in Snatch where a shotgun, described as an anti-aircraft gun, is brought into the car. There’s a big job on the cards, and nothing but the most provocative will do. Gary Medel, for what he brings to the table, is Cardiff’s anti-aircraft gun.
The Chilean international is readymade for the Premier League, and he’ll absolutely love a cold Monday night away at Stoke. The Welsh club have evidently gone ahead and assisted in Jose Maria Del Nido’s stripping of last season’s Sevilla team – Medel is the eighth departure of note this summer – and picked up a fantastic coup; a player who has the ability to play at Europe’s highest level in the Champions League and who will play a huge part in Cardiff battling to remain in the Premier League.
Medel is good technically, but it’s what he brings to the midfield in a defensive manner that sets him apart. He’s a terrier, a snappy, nasty, provocative (there it is) holding midfielder that will make the rest of his team’s job so much easier (sometimes) and the opposing team’s life hell. He’ll intercept and break up play; his ability to tackle, and tackle well, means “El Pitbull” will act as a tremendous shield in front of the Cardiff City backline. The drawback to his fiery nature is that he is prone to red cards. Last season he picked up three, the second highest in La Liga. It’s not an understatement when people say he’s a bit mental. Let’s put it plainly: he can be a bloody liability, but he’s the kind of character you’d love to have on your team.
When he does fancy it, Medel can be of good use to the attacking phase of the game. I’m sure he won’t like the description, but there is more to him than just a nasty piece of work who dives head first into confrontations; he can play, too. Despite the underachieving nature of Sevilla over the past few seasons, Medel has played among high-end midfielders and forwards, and hardly ever, in the transition from back to front, has the Chilean been seen to be a passenger. He has the ability to play the ball long into the path of his forwards, and he’s more than capable of keeping the ball on the deck. Medel isn’t the (formerly) Spanish-based centrepiece of a team many clubs would be looking for; instead he can be the perfect foil for such a player.
And now it’s worth mentioning the entertainment factor. The Premier League will get a real kick out of Medel’s antics, most likely off the pitch as well as on it. He’ll attempt to boot a plastic chair into orbit, he’ll get in the faces of the authorities, and he’ll scare the life out of anyone who dares to get his way. Cardiff City have a genuine fear-factor player on their books, though obviously not in the traditional sense. Alongside all that he can bring to the team from footballing perspective, this should be a laugh.
Will Gary Medel prove to be a good signing for Cardiff City?
Join the debate below