Key man: Mark Hudson
Predicted position: 18th
What a difference a year makes. 12 months ago Cardiff fans were left angry and shocked by Vincent Tan’s decision to change the club’s traditional colour from blue to red, a colour thought to be more appealing to the Asian market Cardiff’s Malaysian owner was keen to tap into.
A year on, Tan’s financial backing could provide crucial in ensuring Cardiff survive their first ever season in the Premier League and the first in the top-flight of English football for 51 years.
Winning the Championship and surviving in the Premier League are altogether different propositions, as various teams have shown over the last couple of years, but Cardiff looked to have gone about their business smartly this summer.
QPR and Reading last season showed that feverish activity in the transfer window can be as dangerous as a lack of reinforcements but, at least judging from the way Malky Mackay has operated so far, Cardiff and their manager are sticking to their plan as they hope to emulate Norwich, Southampton and, whisper it, Swansea.
However begrudgingly Cardiff fans might want to admit it, on a long-term plan Swansea represent the perfect role model for the Welsh capital’s outfit but, for the immediate future, Malky Mackay’s sole focus will be to avoid relegation.
To do so, the 41-year-old Scots has been busy in the transfer window, spending around £28.5m on four players. Chilean international Gary Medel arrived from Sevilla for £11m, while Steven Caulker joined from Spurs for £8.5m, 20-year-old Danish striker Andreas Cornelius left Copenaghen for £7.5m and John Brayford arrived from Deby County, with whom he impressed in the Championship last season, for £1.5m
Medel, who despite being only 26 has already appeared 30 times for Chile, is the sort of experienced midfielder Cardiff were desperate for but the club’s record signing carries with him a largely forgettable disciplinary record, having been sent off seven times during his two-year spell at Sevilla.
Steven Caulker’s decision to leave Spurs for Cardiff was unexpected but the young England centre-half knows that, in a World Cup year, first team football is of paramount importance for players harbouring hopes of being in Brazil next summer, and he could form an excellent partnership with Mark Hudson, the club’s captain and last season’s Player of the Year.
Of Cardiff’s record-breaking transfers, Cornelius is the one that looks more like a long-term investment, for it might take time for the Danish international to find his feet in the Premier League.
The 20-year-old, who scored 18 goals in 34 appearances last season, will undoubtedly be mentored by the likes of Craig Bellamy and Peter Whittingham, the sort of experienced players Mackay will rely on this year.
The Scotsman pushed his team “harder, higher, further and faster” during the summer, in a bid to enhance his men’s fitness ahead of what promises to be a grueling first season in the Premier League, but one Cardiff fans have looked forward to since they secured promotion last May.
The first Welsh derby of the season, sees Swansea traveling to Cardiff on November 3. Expect plenty of fireworks.
Will a couple of record signings be enough for Cardiff to survive? Can they emulate Norwich and Southampton or will they go down Reading’s route?Let us know below or get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter.