fanatix previews Cardiff City’s season…
Manager’s job safety: Malky Mackay deserves at least one full year in the Premier League after winning last season’s Championship title. We reckon the Scot’s job is pretty safe, and the money he has bee backed with proves it. If the Welsh side do get relegated, they have the perfect man to bring them up again anyway.
Captain: Mark Hudson
Last season: 1st (in the Championship)
In: Steven Caulker (Tottenham, £8m), Andreas Cornelius (FC Copenhagen, £7.5m), Gary Medel (Sevilla £11.5m) John Brayford (Derby County, £1.5m) Simon Moore (Brentford, free)
Released: Jese Darko, Nat Jarvis, Stephen McPhail, Elliott Parish.
Retired: Heidar Helguson.
Aims: Like all promoted clubs, Cardiff will be delighted with a 17th placed finish. Anything else will be a massive bonus – but repeating Swansea City’s success of the past two seasons would be almost unthinkable.
Key Player: Steven Caulker – Giving Caulker the ‘key player’ tag before he’s even played a game for the club may seem a bit keen, but the fact is that if Cardiff hope to stay up, the England centre-back will need to have an imperious season. The 6ft. 3″ stopper is great in the air, and scored on his England debut last year.
Needs to improve: Frazier Campbell – This refers solely to Campbell’s performance in the Premier League, as he’s done well for Cardiff since joining in January, scoring seven times in 12 appearances. For Sunderland however, he only scored six league goals in four seasons, and he will need to massively improve on this if he wants to help Cardiff stay up.
Big summer signing: Gary Medel – Sevilla £11m – The Chilean battler seems perfectly suited for a tough relegation battle. Known as ‘the pitbull’, or even ‘the Chilean Gattusso’, Medel has already won 51 caps for his country, and seems like an astute piece of business.
One to watch: Andreas Cornelius – Cornelius broke Cardiff’s transfer record earlier this summer, before deals for Caulker and Medel gazumped him! The 20-year-old was the top scorer in the Danish league last season for Copenhagen, and if he gets anything close to the 18 goals he scored, his £7.5m transfer fee will seem like one of the bargains of the summer.
What do they need? It is fair to say that Cardiff have been extremely ambitious this summer, strengthening the spine of the time with a new centre-half, new centre-midfielder and a young, hungry striker. A new goalkeeper to challenge David Marshall would finish off the set.
fanatix Prediction? 15th – There are worse teams than Cardiff in the Premier League, and although they will be involved in a battle all term, we reckon the Welsh new-boys will stay up thanks to their impressive new signings.