The local media’s desperation to try and keep the feelgood factor going following our promotion knows no bounds as the stories they carry tend be outlandish rumours or finding a different way to say precisely what they reported last week.
However, tucked away among the inane speculation and non stories, there was one last week which I feel was fairly close to the truth about what will be happening at Cardiff City in the next couple of months or so.
Rightly or wrongly, this piece has an air of authenticity to me. However, what is not clear is the degree to which “The Cardiff boss wants five or six players to supplement his current squad and is set to once again utilise the loan and free transfer market.” applies. “Utilise” means use to me, so if it’s meant to say there will be a mixture of loans, free transfers and players that will cost a fee, then that’s fair enough to me.
However, I tend to agree with this comment in reply to the article;-
“The championship play off final to get to the Premiership was billed as the £170 million pound game. We were already there, so why is WOL continually suggesting that Cardiff will be shopping at ‘Pound Savers’ looking for freebies, past sell by dates and loan signings?”.
Burnley were often quoted as the template that City would wish to follow if they were promoted and since their survival was clinched by drawing at Man City and Chelsea in the last week of the Premier League season, Huddersfield have also been mentioned as an example by which Premier League survival can be achieved for City in 18/19.
The thing is though, that neither of these teams owe their continued presence in the Premier League to their ability to “utilise the loan and free transfer market.”. Burnley have tended to buy from British clubs, but, rather than shopping in the players with Premier League experience market which it’s reported is Neil Warnock’s preference, they have tended to look to the Football League for the players who have kept them in the top flight for the last couple of seasons – this is an expensive market compared to many, but, if the plan is to pay transfer fees for these players with Premier League experience, we will be shopping in the most expensive market there is.
Like Burnley, Huddersfield’s domestic signings have tended to come from the Championship, but their results have been mixed as far as that goes I reckon – for me, it was Huddersfield’s transfer business on players based in mainland Europe that played the bigger part in keeping them up.
As a rule, I don’t think you can place great credence on online sources that quote what a player’s salary is, but I would say that the £3.12 million per annum (around 60 grand a week) I’ve seen quoted for West Brom’s Salomon Ronda (a player to whom we were linked a lot in the fortnight following our promotion) sounds about right.
I’m pleased to see that article saying that Rondon “could be out of reach because of budget restraints.” if that applies to wages. Once again, with the proviso that we cannot be certain about online figures, Burnley having their seven best paid players at the club all on 35k a week, as I saw in a messageboard which, obviously, involved a lot of research, seems the sort of model we should follow when it comes to wages.
However, if the thinking is that the supposed £18 million asking price for the Venezuelan international is beyond us, then I would say that is a reasonable price to pay for someone of his talent in the current market. Certainly, a club looking to sign experienced Premier League players still good enough to perform week in, week out in the top flight should expect to be quoted asking prices like that one,
Turning to the loan market, we were strongly linked yesterday with another move for Marko Grujic (who was selected in the Serbian World Cup squad this week). This seems to be a possible move that would not cause the club financial problems – more likely, I’d say that, with only two loan players allowed at the same time and a maximum of four in a season in the Premier League, the question might be, would we like to see one of them taken up by a player who ended the Championship season out of our team and had to be subbed after coming off the bench in his last appearance, seemingly because his manager feared he was going to be sent off? Grujic also doesn’t fill the Premier League experience criteria, but I’d grade this rumour as one that could well happen when compared to most we have seen so far.
Similarly, having talked Robert Snodgrass up in a radio interview recently, I think there is every chance that he is someone who Neil Warnock would like to sign. The Scotland winger cum playmaker was a success in the Championship this season as he contributed eight goals and thirteen assists to Aston Villa’s failed promotion bid during his loan spell with them and I’d say a contribution like that could, largely, be carried into the top flight by someone who has that Premier League experience which we, seemingly, want.
A fee of £12 million (a bit rich this from West Ham when you consider that they signed him for £10 million and he’s not really pulled up any trees at the East London club) has been mentioned in terms of a permanent signing, but Snodgrass is another who is reported to be on £60k a week (again a figure which seems about right to me) and so, I’d like to think that it would have to be a loan move, with West Ham paying around half of his wages, for this one to come off – if that could be arranged then I’d say this one, like Grujic, could be a deal that we’d do.
Just to say on the International front that Aron Gunnarsson was an unused sub in Iceland’s 3-2 home defeat by Norway last night and that Kenneth Zohore did not even make the bench for Denmark in their goalless draw in Sweden, so it would seem that his hopes of making it to the World Cup are negligible now.