Cardiff City 2018-2019 Transfer Review

Note: This is the latest post in a breakdown of all Premier League clubs’ transfer activity leading up to the 2018-19 season. This post will be updated throughout the transfer window during the upcoming season.
I don’t have the same optimism for Cardiff City that I have for Fulham, and I think the Bluebirds are probably in for a rough season in the Premier League. Despite massive debts and measures to cut the wage bill dramatically (read more about that here), they have spent a sizable sum. My other major concern with Cardiff is their losses, specifically Birmingham City (19th), Bristol City (11th), Bolton (21st), QPR (16th). Additionally, in the League Cup, they lost to eventual relegatees in Burton Albion (23rd place), and that was only after barely squeaking by Portsmouth, a side a division below them, after extra time.
To me, this suggests either a lack of focus, or that they are lackadaisical in handling of the ball against “lower” opponents. Regardless of what it is, there could be a game with 5 or 6 goals conceded this level. They had a few other losses, but they were to quality opponents and thus concern me far less.

  • Josh Murphy ($12.5M from Norwich) – Based on the formation Cardiff has been playing in the past, I think that Murphy will have to earn a role either in Pre-Season training or off the bench (though I think he has the quality to do so). Norwich scored 20 goals less than Cardiff City, and 18/69 goals scored by Cardiff were done so by Murphy’s direct competitors for playtime. Based on his goals scored in all competitions, however, he would be the co-leading scorer for his new side with 11 goals, as well as 3 assists. I expect him to be a solid rotation option in the beginning, potentially ending as a first-teamer.
  • Bobby Reid  ($12.5M from Bristol City) – I think Reid is the likely replacement for aging Craig Bryson (31), although he played in only 26 of the teams matches. His production was poor – 3 goals, 2 assists, and 5 yellow cards. Reid (25), was, however, in blistering form for a Bristol City squad that scored only 2 less goals than Cardiff with Reid scoring 21 goals and adding 8 assists in all competitions. Reid also seems to be very resilient, he averaged 87′ per game. Don’t tell Bryson, but I think his time being a consistent starter is over.
  • Greg Cunningham ($4.5M from Preston North End) – Cunningham only appeared in about half Preston’s games last season due to a knee operation, but was a stalwart in defense for them when he was fit. I anticipate that this change is to provide some flexibility for the manager, as the current Cardiff really only boasts one left-back, and Cunningham can also provide an additional option for center-back as well. This is also posturing for the future as almost the entire center-back position at Cardiff is over 30. He comes to them with nearly 70 championship appearances over the last 2 years, and is likely to slide right into to a least a rotation player this season.
  • Alex Smithies ($4.5M from QPR) – Smithies comes in from a QPR side who have struggled mightily with goals against in the past several years, so before I get to Smithies’ stats, take them with a grain of sand. 2015-16 season: 19 appearances, 24 goals allowed, 6 clean sheets. 2016-17 season: 46 appearances, 66 goals allowed, and 7 clean sheets. 2017-18 season: 43 appearances, 64 goals allowed, 7 clean sheets. QPR’s final standings for these seasons were 12th, 18th, 16th (respectively) — but I think this is more a reflection of the quality of the QPR defense and their age (half of which are over 30) may be a contributing factor. I think Smithies will get a shake this pre-season and might make a case, but incumbent Neil Etheridge had a great season.
  • Harry Arter (loan from Bournemouth) – Arter made 35 appearances in the 2016-2017 for Bournemouth though he seems to have fallen out of favor not long after as in 2017-2018 only 13 appearances. He can play as both defensive midfield and central midfielder, but the majority of his duties have been to be a ball-winner and get the team on the counter. He is a great defender and will help improve this Cardiff side, he’s a great signing — especially without a transfer fee. I expect him to see the field 30+ for this side. He’ll make some important defensive contributions and may have a big impact on this side’s ability to stay up in the League.
  • Víctor Camarasa (loan from Real Betis) – Camarasa basically appeared in half of the games for his Real Bettis side and I really don’t expect him to be much more than a rotation option (Arter seems like a better option, to me at least). He appeared in 24 matches for Betis, and was on the bench for the rest, realistically, I expect a similar situation at Cardiff. He may line up with Arter for a couple games, but I don’t think Cardiff will rely on him to heavily if they can avoid it — and will likely give the players they actually have contracted to them a good shake.


  • Matthew Kennedy (Free Transfer) – Kennedy was out on loan more than he was home, probably for the best that he was able to leave and find a club more fitting to his future. He made three appearances in 2017-2018 for the club, making the bench 2 additional times, but only featured for a total of 164′. Not a substantial loss here, as player was barely a fringe player.
  • Ben Wilson (Free Transfer) – Wilson is in a similar situation as Kennedy, except he never even made the bench during the 2017-2018 season.  No loss here, player never contributed at this level.
  • Greg Halford (Free Transfer) – Halford made 16 total appearances for the club for a total of 620′, but only one appearance was in his preferred center back role, mostly played in defensive midfield. I don’t foresee any significant loss, though — the defensive midfield position for Cardiff may be slightly weaker (solely based on its already thin ranks at the club).
  • Lee Camp (to Birmingham) – He didn’t appear in a single match for Cardiff last season, though he did manage to warm the bench effectively. He went out on loan in the second half to Sunderland and managed to make appearances for them. Ultimately, I don’t think Camp is likely to succeed at the Premier League level, which is reflected by the side allowing him to leave for a Championship side in Birmingham (where at least so far this season, he has also been on the bench).

Last update: August 16, 2018

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