Football

Cardiff City: Five January signings assessed

Cardiff appointed the former Manchester United hitman after the sacking of Malky Mackay on 27th December (©GettyImages)
Cardiff appointed the former Manchester United hitman after the sacking of Malky Mackay on 27th December (©GettyImages).

'Tis the penultimate day of the January transfer window, when clubs generally scramble to add numbers to their squads before the 11pm on 31 January.

One club who do not look set to scramble with the pack are Cardiff City, who have been quietly going about their business throughout January, since Malky Mackay was replaced with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the turn of the year.

Since the transfer window opened on 1 January, Cardiff have set about making five signings - more than any other club operating in the top flight of English football.

It could be said that the "baby-faced assassin" has not cast his rod too far - he has signed two players from his last management position with Molde, and the club he finished his playing career with, Manchester United.

Signing such a large number of players in January can tip the balance and decide the fate of Cardiff City this season. We have seen before, most notably with Queens Park Rangers last season, that a rapid expansionist policy when operating in the transfer market doesn't always come up trumps, and that it is extremely important to bring in the right balance of footballers in order for such a plan to work.

With Cardiff currently occupying the bottom spot in the Premier League, it is of paramount importance to get the right players in.

Let's take a look at who Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has entrusted with saving Cardiff City's season.

1. Magnus Wolff Eikrem - SC Heerenveen - Midfielder

One of Solskjaer's former players in Norway, Dæhli only left Molde to join SC Heerenveen last summer.

A Norwegian international, Eikrem was referred to as a "Quarterback" by the manager upon his signing, for an undisclosed fee, it is clear that Eikrem is someone Solskjaer is both knowledgeable and trustworthy of, although if he becomes first choice under the new manger, his position is of utmost importance to Cardiff City's survival chances.

He must also possess the right mental toughness, as going from league winner in Norway, to a sporadically appearing player in the Eredivisie, to the lynchpin in a side rooted to the bottom of the Premiership must be a daunting task for any young player.

At 5ft 8in, he is not the most imposing midfielder, and must be a midfielder with the requisite skills in order to make up for this lack of stature, if he is to compete in the Premier League and contribute to Cardiff's survival.

2. Mats Møller Dæhli - Molde - Midfielder

Another former stalwart of Ole's from his time at Molde, Dæhli won the Statoil talent of the month in the tippeliga, given to the best young player, for his performances during October 2013.

Although this accolade shows signs of promise, the fact he had made just 12 first team appearances with the Norwegian side should be of slight concern.  Despite this, Solskjaer has been effusive in his praise of the Norwegian international, claiming he could of been playing for Manchester United had he not signed for Molde.

Another Norweigan midfielder, his passing statistics, that stand at an impressive 91.88% over the first eight games of the tippeliga hint at some promise.

According to Ole, the signing took longer than originally expected because Cardiff "met some competition from Manchester United" when arranging the transfer. This should point to Mats being a player of some promise, although time will tell if he manages to flourish at Cardiff this season under Solskjaer's tutelage.

3. Jo Inge Berget - Molde - Striker

Completing the trio of Norwegians signed by the Cardiff manager, Berget is a 6ft 1/2in striker who displayed promise as a youngster, and was signed by Udinese in 2008.

His time there was ultimately a disappointment, and after two loan spells, in which he scored a relatively underwhelming 13 goals in 58 games, was resigned by Solskjaer upon his appointment at Molde.

He went on to score a similar number for the eventual Norwegian champions, notching 17 strikes in 63 games. Capped four times by Norway and yet to score, it is safe to say that he has not managed to live up to his early promise as of yet, and it remains to be seen whether he can justify his move by scoring crucial goals in the Premier League.

4. Fábio Pereira da Silva - Manchester United - Full-back

Signed from Manchester United, Fabio is the twin brother of Rafael, currently first-choice right back with the champions.

Despite their similar genes, Fabio has never been able to hold down a first team place with the Red Devils, and made just 22 top flight appearances over six years. A loan spell with Queens Park Rangers last season gave him the opportunity to showcase his talents, but he was unable to stop Q.P.R's eventual relegation from the top flight.

Although the finger cannot be pointed directly at the Brazilian full-back, it should be slightly concerning for  fans to entrust a player whose most notable period of appearances in the top flight ultimately ended in relegation.

5. Kenwyne Jones - Stoke City - Striker

Signed in a swap deal, with Peter Odemwingie going in the opposite direction, the signing of Kenwyne Jones must point to a change in approach Solskjaer is looking to employ.

The 6ft 2in striker is known for his heading ability and hold-up play, and provides something which Cardiff have somewhat lacked this season. Although not a proven goalscorer at premier league level, the Trinidadian has Premier League experience with both Sunderland and Stoke, and should be able to make an immediate impact.

It is clear that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stuck with what he knows in terms of transfers. Whether or not this will prove the best approach is another topic for discussion.

Given that Norway currently occupying 59th place in the FIFA National Rankings, sandwiched between Burkina Faso and Slovenia, it is clear that Norway isn't the best footballing nation to build your team around.

However, given how much of an unknown quantity Solskjaer himself was when he signed for United. Consider the illustrious, medal-filled career he went on to have, only time will tell as to whether Ole's transfer activity this month, will be the catalyst that eventually saves the Bluebirds' season.


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Topics:
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Cardiff City
Premier League
Fabio Da Silva
Football

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