The Championship displayed a wealth of fearsome attackers last season. The likes of Neal Maupay, Che Adams and Olly McBurnie are sure to be very much in demand during the next few weeks, having each plundered 20 plus goals. They were all topped by Tammy Abraham though, who led the line for Aston Villa on loan, after his summer move to Cardiff fell through.
Abraham kept Jonathan Kodja in the shade and the big Ivorian was only a bit part player, as Villa returned to the Premier League via the play-offs. Kodja now faces an uncertain future, with his chances of playing likely to be even less in the top flight, especially since the £22m signing of Wesley Moraes, who was a reported target for Cardiff in January.
Kodja only has a year left on his existing deal, so a decision will soon need to be made regarding whether Villa intend to cash in, offer him a new deal or allow him to potentially walk away as a free agent next year. You would imagine that Villa will be desperate to try and bring back Abraham, which would presumably be curtains for Kodja, although Chelsea’s transfer ban may scupper that.
Kodja is definitely a player that Cardiff should be considering. Proven at Championship level, he has been prolific for both Bristol City and Villa, where he has averaged a goal every three games. The 29-year-old cost Villa £11m three years ago and has done well, despite awful luck with ankle injuries in recent years.
In terms of what Kodja offers, he would be a great fit for Cardiff. As much as people tout the likes of Dwight Gayle or Lewis Grabban as potential solutions up front, the way Cardiff play necessitates that only a certain kind of striker has any chance of succeeding. They need to be powerful, able to work the channels and preferably have a turn of pace.
Kodja, may not be as good at holding up the ball as you might expect from someone that stands 6ft, 2in, but he more than compensates for that with his strengths. He is a clinical finisher, has great feet and a surprisingly keen eye for a pass. Kodja has great awareness and, like Kenneth Zohore, likes to cut inside from wide positions.
Kodja is very much in the shop window at present, having been selected for the Ivory Coast squad which is currently competing for the African Cup of Nations in Egypt. Unfortunately, like Cardiff’s Leandro Bacuna, who is representing Curacao at the Gold Cup, he is likely to miss the start of the season due to a delay in heading off on holidays and then commencing pre-season.
Like most of the strikers that will be attainable to Cardiff there is an element of calculated risk at play. There is a question mark over Kodja’s fitness and would he be willing to drop back down a level, after trying so hard to get to the top flight in the first place? Who knows, but he is tailor made job the job spec and entering the his final year means that he would be available for less than his market value. Maybe fellow Ivorian Sol Bamba can have a word.