There has been serious upheaval at Cardiff City over the summer months. After another season that saw them fall in the Championship play-offs, they got rid of long term manager Dave Jones, and a mass exodus of loan and out of contract players followed.
Cardiff saw 12 players leave over the summer, notable were the losses of top scorer Jay Bothroyd on a free transfer to QPR, lively winger Chris Burke also on a free, and once great young prospect Adam Matthews to Celtic. They also lost a series of loan players, which ultimately served to highlight how reliant they were upon players who weren’t there own.
The arrival of Malky Mackay is a fresh start for the club, with the prime focus on rebuilding the squad. It is rife with youth and inexperience, and currently lacking strength in depth for a gruelling Championship campaign.
Mackay has made several signings, notably Kenny Miller. Having lost key attacking players-like Michael Chopra, Bothroyd and Craig Bellamy-City fans will be relieved that their strike-force no longer consists of only big Jon Parkin. Miller has a proven goal scoring record, and the ability to terrify Championship defences, and he could form a winning partnership with another new recruit-City legend Robert Earnshaw. Earnie has returned to the club where he made his name, and at the age of 30 should still have a lot to offer the Bluebirds at this level, albeit not the 30-plus-goals-a-season of the past.
Earnshaw came in on a free, and he is one of several shrewd purchases by Mackay. He has also recruited Icelandic international Aron Gunnarsson who will likely partner Peter Whittingham in the centre of a radically changed midfield, alongside new signings Don Cowie and Andrew Taylor.
Despite the new signings, Mackay is still trying to get a few more players in to replace the losses of last season. The signing City fans will be hoping for is that of Craig Bellamy. Whether this will happen is up to Manchester City, but it would be an absolute travesty for a player of Bellamy’s quality to rot in the Man City reserves until his contract expires in a year. If City can get Bellamy, then they will have a fearsome front line, with proven experience and goal scoring talent. Their defence was solid last year and should remain unchanged, what will be a concern though is the lack pace in midfield, neither of the new players on the wings-Cowie and Taylor-offer the outlet of a Chris Burke or Wayne Routledge.
City have utilised the loan window to great effect in previous seasons and will probably look to do so again. Although bringing big names in on loan remains a concern. Last year the squad on paper was the best City have ever had, however the team seem to be based around a number of individuals, who never really gelled into a team. It is surely better to rely on a team of players who are willing to work together, than bringing in flash big names who aren’t really team players. Look at Swansea and what they have achieved by working together as a team.
There are always high expectations at Cardiff and with arch-rivals Swansea now in the Premier League, City fans will be demanding their side join them. However, with the Championship getting tougher every year, it will be a difficult ask for the new look Cardiff side to get into the top six again.
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