Who is Alisher Apsalyamov and how will he affect Cardiff's season?
Cardiff City’s Malaysian owner Vincent Tan has caused a stir this week by placing a highly trusted member of manager Malky Mackay’s backroom staff, head of recruitment Iain Moody, on gardening leave and replacing him with an unknown 23-year-old from Kazakhstan, Alisher Apsalyamov. Who is he, and how will this affect Cardiff’s season?
Apsalyamov was on work experience with the Bluebirds during the summer under chief executive Simon Lim, where he was reportedly painting the walls of the Cardiff City Stadium. He is said to be a close friend of Tan’s son, with the hierarchy taking the decision to bring their own man in to oversee the club’s signings.
And, to the shock of many, his responsibility now is to provide the club with the players in January who can potentially keep them in the Premier League, despite having no previous experience in football, following in the footsteps of a man who secured deals for the likes of Kim Bo-Kyung, Steven Caulker and Gary Medel among others.
Mackay, who brought Moody with him from Watford, is reportedly furious at the decision, which has put his position under question, and has led to odds being shortened on the possibility of the Scot becoming the next Premier League boss to lose his job.
With January signings perhaps likely to prove key to Cardiff’s survival chances, Apsalyamov’s appointment in an acting capacity appears far from ideal. Although it remains to be seen what happens in the transfer window, Vincent Tan is undoubtedly taking a massive risk, replacing someone with years of experience, with someone who has none whatsoever, and it could backfire, with the now powerless Moody on gardening leave.
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