By Paul Jones
Mick McCarthy is fearful of a transfer “bombshell” dropping on Cardiff City in the last stages of the transfer window as the club tries to cling on to Kieffer Moore.
Wales striker Moore has been linked with moves elsewhere throughout the summer with Wolves reported to be still considering a £7m bid.
But with only six days remaining until the window closes, Bluebirds manager McCarthy has warned that any sale of his prize asset would be a major blow if it left the club with insufficient time to find a suitable replacement for a player who scored 24 goals last season.
“I don’t want a bombshell dropping on my lap in the next few days,” said McCarthy in an obvious warning to the club’s owner Vincent Tan and his board.
“With all the noise that was going on about him and the fact he scored 20 goals and was one of the best strikers in the Championship, I did expect people to call,” McCarthy admitted.
“I just hope it doesn’t get to the last knockings of the window, which we are already at.
“It’ll drive me bonkers if that is the case. If anyone does come in early on and get business done, at least you can organise, regroup and plan for something else.”
Asked whether Cardiff – who signed James Collins from Luton Town at the start of the summer in what appeared to be a pre-emptive move in advance of Moore’s possible departure – could get by without bringing in another reinforcement, McCarthy added: “No.
“We would definitely need a replacement. It’s not even in the thought process we would let him go and not get a replacement.
“If I was a Premier League side, would I be interested? I probably would, depending on who they are, of course. There’s speculation around players all the time.
“We all love Kieffer here and want him to keep him here. But we’ll see.”
With Cardiff having downsized their transfer kitty since their relegation from the Premier League, any substantial profit for Moore – who cost the club just £2m – is likely to be attractive for those trying to balance the books.
What they will have to consider is how much Moore’s sale would weaken Cardiff’s promotion chances this season and what it might do to McCarthy’s view of the club’s ambition.
His comments on Moore came after the Yorkshireman gave a typically blunt and honest assessment of his team’s Carabao Cup exit in round two following a 2-0 defeat at home to Brighton.
The Seagulls made 11 changes to their starting side and had an average age of just 21, but their slick football and combative spirit made it a fairly routine victory.
¡Se lució en su debut! 😎💯
Moisés Caicedo jugó los 90 minutos en el triunfo de visitante del Brighton ante Cardiff City, que le dio la clasificación a los 16avos de la Copa de la Liga. El mediocampista asistió a Andi Zeqiri para el 0-2 final.pic.twitter.com/5fQBUZlW4o
— Pizarra Sports (con 😷) (@pizarrasportsec) August 25, 2021
McCarthy named a side mixed with experience and youth and said: “We were beaten by a better team, no doubt about that.
“We started well in the first half and we had a good chance by pressing. But then we gave the ball away – and it ends up in the back of the net.
“They are a good side, but again, in the second half, we gave the ball away and it ends up in the net.
“I said at half-time, we ought to be out of this by now but we showed good spirit and I was very pleased with the response.”
Bluebirds skipper Sean Morrison was forced off in the first half through injury.
McCarthy added: “Sean slipped and hurt his knee. It wasn’t disastrous but we’ll see how he is.”
Brighton manager Graham Potter praised the work of his club’s academy after his youthful Seagulls side moved comfortably into round three.
Jakub Moder and Andi Zeqiri scored their first Brighton goals after Potter sent out a side with every outfield player being aged 23 or under.
“You don’t really know for sure how it’s going to go against a Championship team,” Potter said after naming an entirely different starting line-up to the one that had beaten Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.
Graham Potter praises Brighton’s academy after League Cup victory over Cardiff https://t.co/wFQEaJrMmr
— allsports (@allsports70) August 24, 2021
“You don’t go that physicality in the under-23s, that’s for sure.
“It’s a different type of test, but the important thing with all of them is that the character is really strong.
“They are open-minded and want to try and do their best. Our job is to develop the right pathways into the Premier League because the level is so high.
“The work that the academy do developing that is fantastic.”
Brighton’s strong youth policy has paid off handsomely in recent seasons and Potter’s philosophy clearly runs through the clubs from junior sides into the first team.
Defender Ben White broke into the England set-up before joining Arsenal for £50million this summer, while striker Aaron Connolly has progressed on the south coast to make the international stage with the Republic of Ireland.
“We’re really pleased where we are at the moment,” Potter said. “We should be really proud as a club that we’ve got an academy like we have and we want to try and help that.
“The guys earned that win, deservedly I thought and could have added to the scoreline.”