So, the transfer window has arrived without much fanfare… The bar room banter seems to be that the “big clubs won’t be spending big” (he writes this 24 hours after Chelsea have spent upwards of £50m on Eden Hazard’s replacement), but what about Cardiff City? Is it all about those exciting new transfers or is the in-house business just as important?
Take one of the players out of contract this summer; Kadeem Harris.
The perennial Cardiff nearly-man, his breakthrough season was the 2016-17 campaign, yet he is still fighting to secure a regular first team berth. Should he be given a new contract extension or should the Bluebirds let him negotiate a shiny new deal elsewhere, in the hope that they’ve not misjudged a star in the making?
A cursory look at Harris’ statistics does give an fair indication as to just why Harris has so far been unsuccessful in his attempts to make that first XI place his own. In the seven years he has played for Cardiff, he has made just 76 appearances in total.
During that period, the Bluebirds have played over 300 competitive games, yet Harris has featured in less than a third of those. Granted, he has spent some of that time on loan at Barnsley and Brentford, but even so, his injury woes have set his progress back time and again, to the point where many supporters wondered whether he would ever make the grade.
Would it be a good idea to offer him a new deal? With Warnock et al continually reminding all and sundry that money’s too tight to mention, should the Bluebirds be allocating a share of their wage budget to someone who is often watching training from the physiotherapy room? In short, the answer is yes.
Harris offers something very few other players do and that’s genuine pace and a burning desire to get to that damned by-line. No other Cardiff City player, with the possible exception of Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Josh Murphy, can offer what he does or even come close to it. His murderous hot step has bamboozled many a full back and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. How many of those do we have these days?
He can use both feet equally well and can interchange from left to right almost as easily as Chris Burke (still miss him). In addition to this, he has really worked hard on the defensive aspect of his game, meaning that he can assist marauding full-backs like Joe Bennett and Greg Cunningham when needed. Only Hoilett also offers this protection.
Also, Harris has been at Cardiff City for seven years now, meaning that along with Joe Ralls and Aron Gunnarsson, he is amongst the longest-serving players and so understands what makes Cardiff tick. He knows what gets Bluebirds going and when he enters the arena, they expect something special. He is almost classed as one of our own now in a squad bereft of local talent and this can’t be underestimated. Someone who knows the DNA is surely worth five mercenaries, regardless of their short-term impact.
A galloping Harris is a sight to behold. The beautiful thing is that there is more to come and Cardiff can’t afford to let him slip through their fingers. (He also does a wonderful Steve Irwin impression, let’s hope the Premier League doesn’t have too many stingrays!)