We’ve been as far afield as Russia, looking for new blood, says Warnock
Neil Warnock was scouting three different players during his trip to watch Nantes versus Marseille ahead of a crucial January transfer window for Cardiff City.
They included 13-goal Nantes striker Emiliano Sala, with Warnock and his assistant Kevin Blackwell also monitoring a right back and a central midfielder.
The Bluebirds boss revealed he was casting his net as far as Russia as the search for January recruits intensifies but loan deals may be more likely than a reported £25million swoop.
Warnock had another message for struggling Cardiff striker Ken Zohore, whom the Yorkshireman still believes can return to form and add much-needed goals to his side.
“We went all over, I went to watch a full back, midfield player and a striker – all in the same game,” said Warnock when asked about his scouting trip.
“We’re out all the time now in Europe. South America is a little more difficult and certain leagues finish shortly as well – we’ve been looking as far afield as Russia as well.
“It’s alright having scouts recommend targets but you’ve got to have someone that you know see them, as well.
“We’ve looked at five or six strikers in the last few weeks and Ronnie (Jepson) was abroad and so was Robes (James Rowberry) this week.
“One game I went to – not the Nantes game – but another one I took in, I came back asking the question: ‘are they better than Ken Zohore?“Ken is training now and I’ve had a word with him and he’s got to get his finger out now because he’s got all the attributes.
“When I look at all these other strikers, the ones we’re looking at, we’re not looking right at the top end of the market. Ken’s got it all in his locker really, it’s such a shame.”
With Warnock continuing to use players out of position, such as Callum Paterson up front and Bruno Manga at right-back, he has firmly highlighted those positions as January priorities.
Former Cardiff full-back Fabio Da Silva played alongside Sala for Nantes in the Ligue 1 game – a 3-2 victory for the home side – but Warnock hinted that a return for the former Bluebirds favourite was unlikely.
Speculation will now reach overdrive over the identity of the two other players on Cardiff’s radar.
“It could have been a full-back or a midfielder but, if I told you the name, it wouldn’t be as interesting a story then, would it?” joked the Cardiff boss.
On Fabio, he said: “He did all right. Same old Fabio, full of endeavour and a few dives but no Ayatollahs though!
“Obviously we’re looking at a right-back. At the moment (Lee) Peltier’s just come back but then we’ve only got Bruno, who would have to play centre-half.
“Then we’re looking for a midfielder if anything happens to Aron Gunnarsson. We’ve nobody really who can play that position as well as Gunnars in the squad.”
On the type of striker he would like to buy and the possibly of splashing out £25million – the reported valuation of Sala – Warnock’s answer was tongue in cheek.
“I’d like someone who could score 25 goals in the next three months!
“We all know what we need. It’s no good looking for a certain type of player because they’ve got to be able to work hard as well as put the ball in the net.
“(Sala) has scored some good goals this year. He didn’t have a very good game the other night though. But he’s done well.
“And the Marseille lad did well as well.
“We’ve got to find the players that we want and then recommend the players to the club.
“Then it’s down to the club if they can do a deal, whether it’s a permanent or a loan –because loans aren’t cheap.
“Mehmet and Ken have been working behind the scenes but there’s always complications.
“It’s a very difficult time January. You will get knock-backs in January. Even when you’re down the line, something happens. We’ll try and have as many back-ups as we can.
“We’ve only got one more loan player (to sign) in England, so unless we buy them permanently we aren’t going to get more than one.
“We’re looking abroad for loans and permanent deals but we’re also looking at English players, whether that be Premier League players who can’t get games or Championship players.”
In terms of this weekend’s clash with Southampton, Warnock revealed Paterson would continue up front with his striking department decimated by a combination of injuries and loss of form.
“Gary Madine’s had a problem, we’ve got Danny Ward who’s injured and Ken Zohore’s had one day’s training so I think that might answer your question,” he said on his injury list.
“The striking problems don’t go away, we’ve still got Jazz (Richards) and Ken unavailable so it’s the same sort of squad that we pick from”.
> Ken Zohore, pictured shielding possession from Newcastle’s Mo Diame, has got many of the attributes a top striker needs