Weekly review 26 June 2022

Last updated : 30 June 2022 By Paul Evans

Just as a kind of preface, I wrote this about an hour before the news that Gareth Bale had chosen to go and play in Los Angeles broke and contemplated writing something new on the subject, but a combination of me being a lazy so and so and a feeling that I’d said all I wanted to already really made me decide to leave it as it is.

I really thought we’d know one way or another with Gareth Bale by now and the fact that we don’t doesn’t fill me with confidence. It’s not just that it’s taking a little longer than expected which is leading to a lessening of the positivity that was emanating from City fans, myself included, in the first part of the week.

For what it’s worth, City maintained their position as strong, odds on, bookies favourites to secure Bale’s signature until recently – you can have your own views on the veracity of the on line ‘in the know” merchants on social media, but there were enough of them sounding less sure of the outcome of negotiations on Thursday for you to wonder if they may be on to something.

What I think of those who get some sort of kick out of letting us know that they are, perhaps. more informed than us doesn’t really matter, but it now seems fairly clear that there is at least one other serious offer in for Bale and “any MLS side” is now the strong favourite in the betting that we once were. I should say that City are still around the evens mark with most bookies and the chance that Bale will be playing for us this autumn is definitely still there – in fact, the word “chance” might not be the best one to use because all of the indications are that we still have more than that in the battle to sign him.

However, if there is an offer(s) in from the MLS, or any other league actually, that is being strongly considered by Gareth Bale, his family and his representatives I think we can take it as read that the pay on offer will be more than City are able to come up with – probably considerably more.

So, despite the claims that this transfer is not all about money that we have read over the past few weeks, it will be an element in the decision reached by Bale if he doesn’t opt for City.

In saying that, I’m not having a go at Bale there – money may not be a factor in all footballing decisions when it comes to considering new contracts or moves to other clubs, but it is more often than not.

What I, and other City fans, need to remember though is that although there are things that make Bale to Cardiff feasible at this stage of his career and in this year, with its World Cup involving Wales in particular, it still needs an awful lot of “give” in the give and take stakes from the player for the dream to have got this far.

What will be, will be with Gareth Bale, but City still have a squad to put together for five weeks time when the 22/23 Championship campaign kicks off with a home game against relegated Norwich and yesterday there was another new signing announced.

This time it was twenty five year old Andy Rinomhota who joins us on a three year deal after his contract with Reading expired.

Leeds born Rinomhota has played over one hundred and twenty league games for Reading, but, although having a good fitness record generally, was out injured for much of a campaign when the Royals struggled even more than we did. However, they were still prepared to offer him a new deal which he turned down in favour of us.

On the departures side, it was a surprise to see James Connelly signing for Bristol Rovers yesterday for an “undisclosed fee”, believed to be around £150,000. The young centreback did really well on loan at his new club last season and is fresh from his first Wales Under 21 international appearance, but City fans are not going to be able to watch last season’s Under 23 team captain develop at their club – you’d hope there’s a sell on clause included somewhere in the terms of his transfer.

You probably got bored of me banging on about our central midfield four of Pack, Vaulks, Bacuna and Ralls in recent years – it wasn’t that I thought they were bad players, just that they were such a bad mix. Well, two of them signed for League One clubs this week as Marlon Pack returned to the city of his birth, Portsmouth (they were also his first club) and will be back at Cardiff City Stadium with his new club for a League Cup First Round tie, while Will Vaulks has signed for Sheffield Wednesday – Aden Flint has also signed for Stoke.

Leandro Bacuna has not found a new club yet, while the situation had been rather up in the air with Ralls as he had not signed the deal City had offered him, but the good news is that City’s longest serving player has now committed himself to the club for a further two years and so the player out of the original four I most wanted to keep will be staying and there must be a strong chance that he’ll be doing so as team captain..

So, for Pack, Vaulks, Bacuna and Ralls, now read Wintle, Adams, Rinomhota and Ralls – it’s impossible to fully compare the quartets at the moment, but, with the average age of the group having come down and our manager having made it pretty clear that he wanted to improve the squad’s energy levels, you’d assume that we will see an improvement on that score at least – I should also mention Eli King, who we’re told won the dreaded bleep tests when the squad returned to training on Wednesday.

The first team squad are spending the coming week in a training camp in Scotland, less exotic than the locations such events have been held in down the years, but still an improvement on the week at Lavernock I was expecting.

Finally, mention of that first game against Norwich tells you that the fixtures for the season have been published – you can see ours here (sorry about the format, the reasons why it has become popular in recent years on all sorts of football website completely elude me);-