Big name, but small impact. It was a difficult season for Rickie Lambert. Pic: Getty Images.
Rating Cardiff City’s 2016/2017 Transfer signings
In recent years Cardiff City’s spending has been severely restricted at the request of owner Vincent Tan and due to punishing Financial Fair Play rules. This was no exception during the 2016/17 season as the pattern continued. Here, Iestyn Samuel provides a review of last season’s signings.
Lex Immers – Immers made his move permanent on July 1 from Dutch giants Feyenoord. A keen darts fan, Immers made an instant impact in South Wales by becoming a key member of Russell Slade’s squad that narrowly missed out on the play-offs. Fans were delighted at the news of his permanent signing, however the Dutchman found his second season at the club more difficult with fewer first team opportunities. Immers departed Club Brugge last week due to homesickness, which indicates that Neil Warnock made the right decision in letting the fan favourite go. – 3/10
Jazz Richards – Richards had an unfortunate start to life as a Bluebird, sustaining an injury early on in September which left him out for three months. Matters didn’t help for the former Swan as the man who City exchanged him for, Scott Malone, started impressively for Fulham. Despite a rocky start, City fans will be patient with Richards having already seen numerous impressive performances by him in the red of Wales. As the season went on, Richards’ game steadily improved. He needs to now push on and become an asset for Warnock’s men, by competing with Lee Peltier and new signing Calum Paterson for the right back berth. – 6/10
Emyr Huws – Another man who was signed due to former boss Paul Trollope’s Welsh coaching connections. Huws is clearly a gifted midfielder, and some City fans would argue that he should have been the one to fill Peter Whittingham’s large boots. But the Manchester City youth product simply didn’t capitalise on his chances in the capital, and subsequently joined Ipswich Town, where he enjoyed a loan spell that was partially self-financed. – 3/10
Frederic Gounongbe – News of the Benin forward’s arrival was slightly overshadowed by another event on that day in Lille. Gounongbe has had a poor start to life at Cardiff, with no goals in 12 appearances for the club. His future seems uncertain. However, boss Neil Warnock has commented that his finishing ability in training has been superb at times. Who knows, a Warnock team talk may be all that’s needed to transform Fred’s form onto the pitch for next season. – 2/10
Ben Amos – Loaned from Bolton for the season, Amos held the No.1 spot at the club up until December. But his mistakes during the Christmas period proved costly for the Bluebirds, which left ruthless Warnock no option but to take the jersey away from the Manchester United youth product. – 6/10
Rickie Lambert – Lambert’s arrival on deadline day was the biggest name the club had welcomed for many years. Target men are often essential for promotion pushes – for example Heidar Helguson, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Glenn Murray and Sam Vokes. Lambert’s double away to Rotherham came at a critical point in the season and gave fans an insight into what he could hopefully offer. Yet, that would unfortunately be the highlight of his Cardiff career so far, with injury derailing his season. The 35-year-old former England international will require luck on his side if he wants to feature heavily next season. – 5/10.
Joe Bennett – Transfer fees should be an essential factor to consider when evaluating a player’s success at the club. Bennett’s arrival from Aston Villa on a free transfer could well be former boss Paul Trollope’s greatest contribution to the Bluebirds. Bennett has commanded the left back role since his debut in the Severnside derby in a position that Cardiff have struggled with since Andrew Taylor’s solid displays in the 2012/13 Championship-winning side. He clearly knows how to attack, highlighted with two wonderfully taken goals on the final day of the season at Hillsborough. Could play a massive part next season. – 8/10
Kenneth Zohore – Like Immers, Zohore technically signed a permanent deal with the club last summer. The 6ft 3in pacey, powerful forward won Young Player of the Year at the club and Top Goalscorer after memorable strikes at home against Preston and Rotherham. Neil Warnock’s famous team-talk has genuinely seemed to transform the former Copenhagen man. His recent man-of-the-match performance at the Euro U21 Championships against the Czech Republic – scoring two goals and also creating a further two – suggest that he still has so much potential. This was a game featuring Juventus‘s recent £26 million acquisition Patrick Schick, yet Zohore seemed head and shoulders above anyone else on the field on that day. Would have gained a 10/10 if he’d have started the season in the same manner that it ended. – 9/10
Brian Murphy – The 34 year old Irishman was drafted in on a free transfer soon after deadline day. To his credit, Murphy impressed in his four appearances for the club. He seems to be a solid, reliable and an experienced back-up goalkeeper at this level. – 7/10
Junior Hoilett – The Canadian international’s arrival in early October was a vital one, providing width at a time where Cardiff’s lack of quality on the flanks was evident. Hoilett is speedy, sharp, and at 27 years of age, approaching the peak of his career. His arrival on a free transfer takes him to a solid 8/10, as the former Blackburn man would surely command a fee in the millions range should offers ever come in. Although still working hard to iron out inconsistency from his game, Hoilett is expected to start the majority of games in the 2017/18 season along with Kadeem Harris out wide. – 8/10
Sol Bamba – Imposing centre half Bamba has quite simply been a revelation for the Bluebirds. With passion in abundance, Bamba became an instant cult hero after charging the ball into the net to win the Severnside Derby against Bristol City at Cardiff City Stadium. As long as the former PSG man maintains his discipline, he will feature prominently next season, competing with captain Sean Morrison and Bruno Ecuele Manga for a starting centre back spot. An absolute rock at the back and clearly very popular member of the squad, a fantastic signing by Neil Warnock. – 9/10
Kieron Richardson & Marouane Chamakh – There was a lot to like at the sound of these deals. They were short term contracts which stopped any chance of plaguing the club with high wage burdens should they fail to impress. It was wise by Warnock. Chamakh’s only telling contribution was an assist at St James’ Park, and both were swiftly released. Richardson recently trained with Tony Adams’ Granada whereas Chamakh is back to being a free agent. No harm done. – 4/10
Greg Halford – Halford is a versatile, experienced Championship player who was known to Warnock from his time at Rotherham United. Possessing a dangerous long throw, he will inevitably face strong competition for any of his versatile positions from August onwards. A calm and useful squad player. – 6/10
Allan McGregor – Experienced Scottish international goalkeeper McGregor was the man who would take Amos’s No.1 spot after a loan move from Premier League side Hull in January. McGregor was a solid shot-stopper but high wage demands seem a stumbling point in securing a longer stay in the Welsh capital. – 7/10.
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