Kuyt a realistic Cardiff target

Monday 10th June 2013 12:08

Dirk Kuyt: Linked with move to Cardiff

Dirk Kuyt: Linked with move to Cardiff

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Cardiff FanZoner Ivor Castle sifts through the list of the club's rumoured transfer targets and believes Dirk Kuyt is one realistic signing.

Although this is supposed to be the quiet time of year on the transfer front it never stops newspapers and supporters from speculating.

As Malky Mackay apparently rests up during his deserved Greek vacation period, not too far away in Turkey rumours are strong that former Liverpool man Dirk Kyut of Fenerbahce is a target for the Bluebirds along with his team-mate and former Everton centre-back Joseph Yobo.

Of course almost every rumour will contain a small grain of truth, though some will be nothing more than speculation trying to create a story.

The newspapers need to fill copy, and fans eat it up. When you look logically for potential signings amongst the rumours you have to have more authority than rumblings and propaganda to ferret out those that might contain some direction.

In 2011 there was extremely strong newspaper reporting that Cardiff had made a substantial bid for David Goodwillie from Dundee United.

Then Terrors manager Peter Houston talking on Scottish television admitted that Goodwillie was about to leave Tannadice and Blackburn Rovers had met the club's asking price. They had been given permission to talk with the striker and his agent.

Houston also let out that Rangers had made a late offer but did not know if that had matched the Blackburn offer. He also noted there had been one other previous bid which had been rejected and remained unimproved.

It would certainly seem from all reports that Cardiff City was the first bidder. Neither club ever confirmed this. Yet for everything we have learned about Malky Mackay over the past two years it would seem highly unlikely that Goodwillie was a Mackay type signing.

With all the talk of 'character' and dressing room unity, Goodwillie's record hardly matched those requirements. Maybe it was an oversight or a rare poor decision by Mackay but thankfully Goodwillie joined Blackburn, and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

Mackay has been very good at playing his cards close to his chest when it comes to transfer dealings. But in the rarefied atmosphere of the Premier League with agents and scouts scouring Europe for the best buys, leaking is somewhat inevitable you would think.

Many high profile deals are done weeks if not months before they are actually completed. Manchester City's recent additions of Jesus Navas and Fernandinho are proof of that. Keeping them quiet is a massive task.

In the case of Cardiff City and their like, where value for money and return on investment is now paramount, the transfer model has changed. The 'Moneyball' statistics and attention to detail has overpowered the manager's hunch and so it should.

What other business in the world would empower its management with multi-millions of borrowed local and foreign currency to spend on a hunch or a gut feeling?

So many transfers over the past years have been transacted on the basis of a player having a good game against the now buying club. It's almost laughable to realise, but it is so true.

Times have changed and the modern manager such as Mackay has sports science and recruiting departments to lean on. They take the guesswork out of player analysis and contributions to games, wins and losses.

Yes, the manager still retains his vision or understanding of what the new player brings to the team but at least it is now based on fact and statistics, not just folklore or one or two impressive performances.

Enquiries into a player's personal background and the baggage he may or may not carry is also open and available.

Bolton Wanderers players have recently been quick to praise Dougie Freedman's coaching style and attention to detail compared with their former boss Owen Coyle.

It was a damning indictment on the new versus old philosophy. Coyle is made to sound like a dinosaur, and there are many like him still in the game and even some who are being recycled back into the game. Perhaps Coyle included.

Those club chairman and directors who do not see the light or read the stats are doomed for failure, as are those managers and coaches.

There is a small window of opportunity created by this watershed time in British football. Those who adapt like Mackay will prosper, those that don't perhaps like Coyle, Welshmen Tony Pulis and Dean Saunders, will suffer.

There is a certain number of clubs, the big ones naturally and the smart ones also, who will make use of this advantage. Dare I say Swansea City have proven the way with young managers like Roberto Martinez, Paulo Sousa, Brendan Rodgers and now Michael Laudrup.

However, as the rest play catch-up, time is running down and the opportunity is closing. Cardiff City may have joined the elite at just the right time with just the right manager.

As for those signings we still await, there are four types of player Mackay and his staff will concentrate on.

First the ROI - return on investment. Younger players who if they make it will be worth more on the transfer market than they cost (Joe Mason for example). Or, young players who become long-term signings more than repaying their transfer fees and wages in performances (Peter Whittingham).

Secondly there will be experienced players with no ROI in financial terms. Most important of these will always be the older out-of-contract player (Florent Malouda at Chelsea is an example). Here it is only the cost of wages and the wage budget that matters. These are graded as VFM - value for money.

The third and other type of experienced player will be the low transfer fee player who has a year to run on his contract and still has at least the two to three prime playing years needed to be considered a good buy.

Craig Bellamy of course is an example from last year who falls into this category. He was actually signed on a free transfer.

Bellamy's former team-mate Kyut also looks an interesting future prospect using this formula, and he is the epitome of hard work and dressing room togetherness, something high on Mackay's wish list. And who will forget his Carling Cup Final goal against Cardiff in 2012>?

Of course there is always room for a player or two who might cost a substantial amount of money and never return the transfer fee in cash. Just as long as they do in performance. This fourth category is the game-changer, the Fernandinho, the Tevez, the Van Perse.

Manchester City can pay £35million for a player and may only recoup £12million when he is sold but for them it is the cost of doing business and it's in their business model.

For Cardiff City it is not. Indeed even for a club like Arsenal it's unlikely. Any return a player generates the club will be in maintaining Champions League qualification or progress to the final rounds or winning the title itself.

For a club like Cardiff, although paying a much smaller fee for a record signing of perhaps £8million, it might be what's needed to maintain Premier League status. It's all a matter of perception.

To consider all the names linked with Cardiff over the past weeks means to categorize them into these main groups.

Here's as many of the names as I can think of. Play the game and see who strikes the right chord. One caveat before you start, extra points go to any former Mackay players on the list.

I think you'll find that most all of these players can fit into these categories, which suggests to me that there is some truth to each one of them.

Danny Graham (Sunderland), Chris Eagles (Burnley), John Brayford (Derby), Dirk Kyut (Fenerbahce), Oussamah Assardi (Liverpool), Joseph Yobo (Fenerbahce), Soloman Kalou (Lille), Albert Adomah (Bristol City), Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon), Gary Hooper (Celtic), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), William Gallas (Tottenham), Jamie Mackie (QPR), Carlton Cole (West Ham), Tom Ince and Matty Phillips (Blackpool), Leon Barnett (Norwich), Will Buckley (Brighton), Marvin Sordell (Bolton), Lewis McGugan (N.Forest).

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