BLAKEY: MY NEW YEAR CITY TRANSFER WISHLIST
LAST season, I recommended Cardiff City sign Newcastle United midfielder Mo Diame - who at the time was out of the side and unhappy at St James’ Park - but they went down a different route.
Diame has come back into the equation at Newcastle since then, while Cardiff’s need for new signings has become little more urgent.
So, again, I’m going to suggest a few players Cardiff could target who would be ready-made for the Premier League.
LEIGHTON BAINES (EVERTON)
Go and get him. He’s still a quality leftback, was England’s first choice in that position not too long ago, a leader and someone who would bring in even higher standards of professionalism to the club.
He’s not first choice at Everton these days, so someone must surely swoop for him in the New Year and sell him the dream – as I said when I floated the idea of Cardiff re-signing Aaron Ramsey from Arsenal.
FERNANDO LLORENTE (SWANSEA)
In terms of a striker, a position we all know Cardiff need to get in January, I like the idea suggested on these pages a while ago in Llorente.
He’s another experienced pro who would add much-needed quality in an area Cardiff are lacking it.
But I also know there are two or three other internationals around the global game who would be available for half of Llorente’s wages.
So Cardiff have to assemble a transfer plan to go and find them.
The problem Neil Warnock has had during his time at Cardiff is each of his signings have been to plug a gap, putting something in place temporarily and eventually that catches up with you. It doesn’t work long term.
Recruitment is vital at the top level and I just feel the Bluebirds have been shopping in a market which is comfortable for them. I don’t see them delving into European markets like their rivals do.
The reason they found Victor Camarasa was because they played against him in that Real Betis pre-season friendly.
Trust me when I say there are lots of Camarasas out there. You just need to do your due diligence and unearth them.
It’s no good Cardiff hoping to sign someone like Troy Deeney from Watford, which was mentioned in the summer.
There’s no way they’re going to sell him in January. Newcastle aren’t going to sell Diame anymore either.
You have to pounce when the time is right, you have to know your onions and do your homework on these players.
DANNY DRINKWATER (CHELSEA)
Another player I’d love Cardiff to target is Drinkwater.
He’s a class act, has actually played for the Bluebirds in the past, and could be available on loan having barely played since he moved to Chelsea.
But there will be some big wages to get around – as there will be with several of their targets.
So Cardiff can’t have it both ways. It’s difficult to apply pressure on Warnock and insist he must keep this team in the Premier League if the team hasn’t had investment.
They only spent pocket money to get promotion in the first place, so Warnock would be forgiven for wanting more money in the hope of achieving survival.
It’s a necessity, I’m afraid: Bournemouth have done it, Watford have done it, Southampton, Burnley – are these clubs bigger than Cardiff?
No, but they had a plan and they backed it up with sound investment. The three players I’ve mentioned would all merit wages in excess of £65,000 per week.
So for me, Warnock needs help in the recruitment department and a strategic approach to the January transfer window. Maybe an extra member of staff behind the scenes would be an intelligent move. Consider this column my two pence worth of advice, but we all know the January window won’t be that straightforward. It never is.
Everton’s Leighton Baines
Tottenham’s Fernando Llorente
Chelsea’s Danny Drinkwater