Cardiff boss Mackay unaware of Velikonja signing

Malky Mackay was unaware of and did not approve the signing of Etien Velikonja in July 2012 in another example of Vincent Tan’s interference as Cardiff City owner, the Guardian has reported.

Tan purchased the Slovenian forward for £1.7m, and Velikonja arrived at the club unannounced after the deal was completed through Jorge Mendes, a high-profile football agent who was involved in the transfer that took Bebe to Manchester United. Velikonja was oblivious to the situation when joining Cardiff, who were in the Championship at the time.

Velikonja, who was signed on a four-year deal when he joined from NK Maribor last year, has played a total of 73 minutes of football since signing for the Welsh club and has not made an appearance in the match-day squad this season. His transfer fee equates to £10,000 for every minute played for the club, the newspaper added. Velikonja’s last Cardiff appearance came in the club’s final game of the season, with Cardiff already promoted, and he was taken off at half-time.

Reports have suggested that Tan has previously passed messages from the stand during matches, including tactical changes and suggested substitutions. The speculation has added to the unrest at Cardiff after the club made headlines for the wrong reasons last month, when head of recruitment Iain Moody was sacked and 23-year-old Kazakhstani Alisher Apsalyamov replaced him.

Tan had Velikonja’s name on a list of players he’d like to see at the club, after meeting with Mendes in the summer of 2012 and signed the player despite reports that Mackay and Moody didn’t want Velikonja at the time. Mackay was interested in signing the forward for his former club, Watford, but several years on Mackay was given no choice and the Slovenian arrived at Cardiff regardless.

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