Thursday was a new day. Joe Day in fact, but what are Cardiff getting exactly? We went straight to BBC Sport reporter Michael Pearlman, who knows about these things, and this is his verdict.
VFTN – You recently tweeted that it’s a dream move for Joe Day and that he deserves it. How did he fare at Newport and why was his contract allowed to expire?
MP – Day was signed by the late Justin Edinburgh as an emergency loan. Newport’s first choice goalkeeper, Lenny Pidgeley, was dealing with depression and Day was seeking first team football. It was instantly evident Day was too good for League Two and Edinburgh tipped him to play at least in the Championship. He was young and didn’t have much first team football under his belt, but my main memory of his early days at Newport is that he rarely made a mistake. He did the basic things extremely well, which is huge at that level.
It was a coup when Newport signed Day – they paid around £20,000 and he was their record signing until they paid a little more for Padraig Amond – and to be honest it was probably a surprise to Newport fans every time they were able to re-sign him, especially last year. He’s a fan favourite and was voted the best goalkeeper in League Two last season.
County’s run in the FA Cup put him in the spotlight and Neil Warnock obviously took notice. It is not a case of Newport “allowing” his contract to expire. If Day has been willing to take a two-year deal last season when he re-signed, County absolutely would have done that. Day clearly wanted to keep his options open and financially Cardiff blow Newport out the water, we are looking at a six or seven hundred percent wage rise.
His family are already settled in South Wales and he will likely make more money, but Cardiff already have Neil Etheridge and Alex Smithies, so his chances of playing as things stand look rather slim. Is he expecting to play or will he be content as a back up option?
I don’t think any player is ‘content’ with being a back-up. A few might be, but most seek first-team football and Day is in that category. No player should be guaranteed game time, but equally, most would back their own ability and think that they can prove to the manager that they should be starting games.
I am told that Day was assured he would get chances to play. I don’t think Cardiff would have signed Day if both Etheridge and Smithies were going to stay at the club, but that’s just my opinion. I think in Cardiff’s situation it is likely they would listen to offers on both.
If both were sold and Day ended up being first choice, I think he would do a very good job in the Championship and would be popular with City fans. If only one leaves, Day will provide a similar level of competition to what the club have now. Cardiff could sell a goalkeeper now, reinvest the money elsewhere in the team and improve as a result.
You have said that you think Cardiff are a good fit for his talents. What do you mean by that and do you think he can make the step up to the Championship?
Mainly, I am in this instance referring to Day’s weakness, which is his kicking. It is the least developed part of his game, as with Neil Etheridge. However, while at, say Swansea, that would be a really big problem, I don’t think it is at Cardiff. Cardiff play a more direct style and Day is used to that. As for the second part of the question, I definitely think he is a Championship-calibre player, he has been for three seasons.
What are Day’s strengths and weaknesses and how do you think he compares to Etheridge and Smithies?
He is strong and remains agile, commands his box well, is a good shot stopper and likes a penalty save. He shares many traits with Etheridge, which is why I think Warnock has taken a shine to him. His weakness, as mentioned, is his kicking, but Cardiff don’t need an Allison or Ederson the way they play under their current manager. How does he compare? I’ve seen very little of Smithies. With Etheridge, I would say he is a similar player, even comparable down to arriving from lower league clubs on a Bosman. He’s a very sensible signing and could prove great value if Cardiff sell either of their other goalkeepers.