Whilst many of us mull over the thought of just how Cardiff City are planning on paying for Craig Bellamy’s services, there can be little doubt in anybody’s mind as to exactly why the Bluebirds have swooped to bring the hitman back to his homeland.
Having found himself frozen out at Eastlands, it was clear that the Welsh captain was not in Roberto Mancini’s plans for the season, and so a move to pastures new was both a necessity and indeed an inevitability. With a fresh influx of talent to drool over in Manchester, something had to give and Bellamy was amongst the unlucky few. With rumoured interest from the likes of Spurs, Celtic, Fulham and even the unthinkable thought of retirement, some would argue that the odds were stacked against Dave Jones to pull off one of the transfer coups of the summer. The lure of regular football coupled with the close proximity of Bellamy’s family gave Cardiff the upper hand and so a season long loan was agreed. A fantastic piece of business in South Wales most will agree. The questions that remain now is exactly how he fits into the Bluebirds team and what does his signing mean for the club?
First and foremost, the acquisition of the former Liverpool and Blackburn forward is a clear statement of intent. For all of the doubters, last season’s beaten play-off finalists are serious contenders this year. A repeat of the near miss at Wembley in May is not on the agenda at the Cardiff City Stadium, and all eyes are trained on promotion. For a club who’s ambition was questioned by one of it’s own following a shortage of new arrivals, life would seem a lot rosier right now. Bellamy’s signature follows swiftly in the wake of Hull City’s Seyi Olofinjana and Wigan’s Jason Koumas joining on loan, illustrating the depth of talent now at Dave Jones’ disposal. These players may not set the world alight but they are experienced professionals who have played at the highest level. Their presence would be welcome in Premier League squads, let alone those in the Championship.
The irony of the situation however, is that Bellamy could soon step into the boots of just the player who was calling for new blood in the squad. Former Newcastle striker Michael Chopra drew plenty of attention in expressing his frustration at the summer transfer activity for the Bluebirds, but in the Welsh captain, City now have a player more than capable of ousting Chopra. It should of course be noted that City’s summer spending was somewhat hindered by the transfer embargo placed on them. Should Chopra be destined for the bench, he may yet have a few games to save his position, with Bellamy himself admitting that he currently lacks match sharpness. Of course only time will tell how Jones will utilise his new striker but with a forward line made up of a combination of Bellamy, Chopra, Jay Bothroyd and potentially Ross McCormack should he remain at the club, City have a very potent striking arsenal indeed. Playing any combination of the four together would strike fear into the hearts of most Championship defences.