The right-side of defence is the only part of Cardiff City’s back-line that is missing a star man. Lee Peltier and Bruno Manga have played there well this season, but neither are at the level required for Premier League football. The latter is a centre-back, while Peltier, not to mention the injury-prone Ashley Richards, are perhaps not at the standard needed to start week-in-week-out in the top flight.
Here’s five options for Warnock to strengthen the right-side of his defence.
The free transfer
Crystal Palace right-back Joel Ward is one of a number of right-backs available on a free transfer this summer. At 28, he is in his prime years and could vastly improve the options at right-back for Cardiff.
Having signed for Palace in 2012, Ward has been a prominent figure in their Premier League journey, but found opportunities harder to come by in the past year, making just 20 appearances.
A change of scenery may be good for Ward, who would bring height and quality to the right-back slot.
The Welsh option
Former Cardiff academy-graduate Chris Gunter is a hero among Welsh fans and could be looking to make the step back up to the Premier League for one more shot at the top flight.
At 28, Gunter won’t have too many opportunities left, and may have become frustrated at Reading’s poor performances last year. The Royals narrowly avoided relegation from the Championship, despite challenging for Premier League promotion the year before.
Gunter, who left Cardiff for Tottenham in 2008, is a solid Championship player, who would surely love to prove himself in the top flight.
The loan option
One player who has been synonymous with Arsenal’s struggles in recent years is Calum Chambers. The Englishman has struggled and probably doesn’t have the quality for a top level club, but has been afforded favour by Arsene Wenger.
With the Frenchman now out of the Emirates and Unai Emery settling in, Chambers may not be afforded the same loyalty.
He played just 11 games in the league last year, and may feel that this is the right time to move on for the sake of his career. A loan to Cardiff, where he would be given the games he needs at right-back, could be a wise move for all involved. Neil Warnock would certainly improve his game.
The under the radar signing
Jon Flanagan was once the talk of the Kop. One of their own, Flanagan earnt rave reviews for his committed Liverpool performances.
Since then, though, Flanagan has floundered, with his lack of ability going forward costing him a place in the first-team squad. Loans to Burnley and Bolton mean that Flanagan returns to Anfield this summer a man looking for a new club.
While he wouldn’t excited many, he could be a revelation under Neil Warnock, who would relish the 25-year-old Scouser’s commitment.
Questions remain over his ability going forward however, which could hamper the impact he has in the top flight.
The star signing
When I first wrote this piece, I had Ryan Fredericks in this slot. The Fulham right-back was arguably the best in the whole of the Championship last season and was available on a free transfer. I find it hard to believe that half of the Premier League clubs didn’t enquire about his services. West Ham won the race, though, and it leaves me, and Neil Warnock, looking for a new right-back.
I’ve gone for a Hammer who could be looking to leave the club – Sam Byram. The former Leeds right-back was extremely well-thought of in the second tier of English football, but since moving to West Ham in 2015/16, the Englishman has struggled for game time.
He needs a move to reinvigorate his career and could be the perfect match for Neil Warnock.