The performances of wingers Junior Hoilett and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing were crucial to Cardiff’s promotion, but when the wingers were out-of-form or were not match-fit, there was little to replace them.
Hoilett especially deserves to start in the top flight, but Neil Warnock may be wary of Mendez-Laing making the step up as first choice.
A new winger will be on top of Warnock’s agenda then, with the following five players possible targets for the Bluebirds.
The free option
Crystal Palace wideman Bakary Sako has been playing in England for more than five years now and knows the top flight well. Three seasons with Crystal Palace have given the Malian 43 appearances in the Premier League.
He would bring pace and directness to the Bluebirds’ front line, and is a player in a similar mould to Hoilett and NML. He’s had injury troubles, but a move would be good for him and Neil Warnock could transform him.
The Welsh option
Liverpool’s on-loan Welsh winger impressed during the second half of the season at Hull City. He’s exciting and tricky, and has given Hull fans a glimmer of hope in an otherwise dull season.
Wilson’s next move will be interesting. The Welshman will be keen to fight for a spot in Liverpool’s squad for next season, but manager Jurgen Klopp may favour a season on loan at a Premier League club to continue his development.
The loan option
Another youngster who has impressed while out on loan is Manchester City’s Patrick Roberts. Having spent the past two years on loan at Celtic, Roberts will be hoping to break into Pep Guardiola’s plans. However, fellow youngster Phil Foden may have moved ahead of Roberts in the pecking order at the Etihad, so another stint out may suit Roberts.
If so, Cardiff should pounce. An exciting young winger, Roberts would provide an extra amount of creativity and can also operate centrally.
The under the radar signing
Serbia’s Lazar Markovic was once one of Europe’s most exciting young talents. In 2013, In Bed With Maradona – a site that produces an annual list of the 100 top youngsters in world football – said “Lazar Markovic is a player destined for the very top.”
That’s how highly he was thought of. A move to Liverpool followed, but his career has stagnated since. A loan move to Hull City in 2017 showed a rare moment of potential, but he has once again failed to build on that promise.
Markovic wants out and surely Liverpool want rid, too. The Serbian could be an ideal Neil Warnock project at the right price.
The star signing
A man already linked with the Bluebirds in the media is Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri. The Stoke City man is a mercurial talent who would certainly excited the Cardiff faithful. Skillful, direct and explosive. Shaqiri would suit Warnock’s attacking system.
Questions remain over his defensive responsibilities, but the former Bayern Munich and Inter Milan wide-man would no doubt learn quickly that he has to do his bit in Warnock’s system.
Scott is a lifelong Cardiff City fan and freelance football writer. Scott hosts the VFTN podcast.