The need for Cardiff to sign a striker in January is glaringly apparent, but who are the viable options? We can all rattle off the likes of Jay Rodriguez and Troy Deeney until the cows come home, it’s not going to happen though. The budget won’t allow it, even if the player did actually fancy it, which they probably wouldn’t. So here are a few slightly left-field suggestions for your consideration;
Dominic Solanke – The talented youngster
What Cardiff need in January are impact players, so in striking terms; guaranteed goals. That will always come at a premium, but the other issue is that pretty much everyone in the bottom half of the Premier League are in the market for a striker that can provide a return in the double figures.
If truth be told, I don’t think Cardiff can afford to sign the calibre of striker that they need, so their best bet would probably be to make the most of their remaining Premier League loan. There are plenty of options in that regard, but Dominic Solanke is the one that I keep returning to.
Very highly regarded by England manager Gareth Southgate, I’m sure he shares Solanke’s frustrations at not only failing to play a single minute for Liverpool this season, but not yet making the bench either. He is at the stage in his career where he needs to be playing regularly to aid his development and he would certainly get that at Cardiff.
Of course, match fitness may be an immediate concern, but the six foot 21-year-old is in great shape and I’m sure he would be raring to go. Solanke fits the mould of Tammy Abraham, who Neil Warnock failed to land in the summer and represents a risk, as any striker within budget and willing to join Cardiff probably would be. Very much a calculated risk though.
Umut Bozok – The left-field continental option
Perhaps occupying the “unknown quantity” end of the spectrum, 22-year-old Umut Bozok is nevertheless a player that could very soon become a household name.
Currently playing for French club Nimes, last season saw him finish top scorer in France’s second division with 24 goals in 36 games.
Known for his physicality and an eye for goal, Cardiff could very well find themselves signing the next Didier Drogba of French football here (although, there is always the danger that he could end up being the next Idriss Saadi, who promised so much but left without a goal to his name). When you consider that his current transfer value is reportedly around £4.5m, this would hardly see the overdraft limit being extended for the Bluebirds.
Given Cardiff paid £6m for the underwhelming Gary Madine, this transfer would represent some seriously astute business. The question remains as to whether Bozok can succeed at the highest level though, as he has only scored once this season.
The Bluebirds need goals and they need them fast. Bozok may just be the answer they are looking for.
Neal Maupay – The Championship’s next big thing
We don’t have a small, little shit of a striker. Bobby Reid is good, but he’s not quite and out and out striker – and he’s not got that nasty streak we need.
But Neal Maupay does. Sure, I can hear your cries of he’s not a Premier League player now or he’s not proven it at the top level, but the pedigree is there and us giving him the opportunity to step-up could be a canny move.
He is a player who seemingly has it all. Skill, a bit of pace, he can take players on, bring others into play, score from distance or with his head and slot them in as well. He’ll also stamp on you if you rile him up! His toes are twinkling in the Championship and the French Under-21 international is turning heads. We should risk it.
At times, we are a jigsaw piece away from it clicking. We’ve got pacy wingers and decent centre mids. We’ve even got a right-back-target-man who’s boss at bringing others into play. But sometimes, he needs that man on his shoulder and that’s Maupay.
It’s hard to know how much money January will bring, but if we can get Maupay for, say, £8m-£10m, I’d be happy with that. He can make the step-up, he will want to prove himself and if we do go down, we know he can do it in the Championship. We need a bit of fight and while we have players who are battling, one who can score goals too wouldn’t hurt.
Leigh Griffiths – The north of the border option
Google Leigh Griffiths today and you’ll see that the Celtic striker failed to show up to court for a speeding offence. Perhaps not the type of character we’d all like to see in a Cardiff shirt, but there’s no doubt he can score goals.
The 28-year-old is in his prime and could be the perfect striking option for Neil Warnock’s side. A Scottish international, Griffiths has pace and can be a physical presence up front, meaning that he would suit Warnock’s system.
More importantly, Griffiths knows where the goal is, having found the net 74 times in 127 games for Celtic. His time to test himself in the Premier League is running out and could fancy the challenge with Cardiff.