Tuesday, 12th June 2018, brought confirmation of the Bluebirds first signing of the 2018 summer transfer window, as Josh Murphy put pen to paper on a four year deal.
Whilst Cardiff City have not confirmed the fee involved (their statement declared it an “undisclosed fee”), media reports continuously threw around a £10m-£11m figure, so it’s safe to assume that the real figure is around that mark, which blows all theories as to Cardiff City’s transfer funds out of the water.
Until now, we’ve been led to believe that the club will not be spending much money this year. We spent circa £50m last time we got promoted, which was big money at the time, but since then the market has gone crazy, and bottom half clubs are regularly parting with £15m-£20m for players who probably would have moved for a fraction of that back in 2013 when we were preparing for our first year in the Premiership.
Whilst Murphy’s signing doesn’t at all suggest that we will start spending £20m+ on players, it does tell us that the club has more money to spend than was implied, and many fans should take great confidence from that. Unlike previous years, we are clearly keeping our cards close to our chest, and have ensured that other clubs have no idea how much we are willing to part with to sign their players. It’s brilliant work by Vincent Tan and Neil Warnock, who’s few media appearances in the past month did enough o convince everyone that we simply wouldn’t be spending £10m+ on wingers. Especially wingers who have previously been playing at Championship level.
Josh Murphy is the perfect signing for Cardiff City. He’s young, has been brought up the right way in football, and is hungry to succeed. He had a cracking season for Norwich City last year, where he cemented his place in their side, and he scored some cracking goals for them (the screamer against Aston Villa, for example!). Under the fantastic man management skills of Warnock, you can only assume that Murphy will have a belter of a season for the Bluebirds in 2018-2019.
Murphy’s signature also gives us a clearer indication of how Warnock plans to set us up next year. Many of our most successful moments last season came from strong defending that was followed by very quick counter attacks that caught out our opponents. Murphy brings even more pace to our team, and tells us that Warnock intends to keep us playing how we were in 2017-2018, but with that extra bit of class and ability in our team.
Many Norwich fans have done the usual routine of claiming “he wasn’t that good for us anyway,” highlighting his inconsistent form. Unplayable on some days, missing on others. If that is indeed the truth, he sounds like another of our players whom we simply could not have got promoted without: Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
Mendez-Laing had a blistering start to the season, and was our standout player in the first five games that saw us maintain a 100% win record, and top spot in the league. After that, his form began to blip, with questions thrown out about his asthma medication, amongst other things. Mendez-Laing never hit the kind of consistent form that he had enjoyed at the start of the year, but he showed his brilliance on enough occasions, and in enough big games, to become invaluable to us. And one look at his social media pages tells you all you need to know about how determined he is to be in peak physical condition for next season.
Wingers are confidence players, and sometimes a level of confidence that may have been built up over a period of several games can come crashing down in just one game with a full back has their number. This sometimes happened with Mendez-Laing, and our go-to option was alway to switch the wingers around, or bring on a replacement who simply wasn’t like-for-like. Murphy gives us that like-for-like player (although, one assumes Murphy will absolutely be starting, come August, so I don’t consider him direct competition for Mendez-Laing’s own position), and would allow us to stick to our game plan for longer in games where maybe we are struggling to break through the opposition.
What Murphy also represents is zero risk. It’s a big money transfer for us, but he’s young, and will not decrease in value if we find ourselves relegated come May 2019 (although, let’s hope that’s not the case!). We beat other clubs to his signature, and those clubs will no doubt still be sniffing around if we need to move him on next summer. Simply put, we won’t lose any money on this player even if things don’t work out, and that makes his capture not only a great footballing move by us, but also a great business decision too. If Murphy’s arrival is indicative of how we plan to handle our transfer business this year, bringing in younger names who have great upside, then I can’t see why any sensible Bluebird supporter would be disappointed.
Murphy, as a footballer, fits into our style of play perfectly. His pace, trickery, and eye for goal will suit us wonderfully. More importantly, given how tight our team spirit is, Murphy the man has clearly passed the Warnock test, and one can only assume he is going to fit into our squad very well.
All that remains to be said is, welcome to Cardiff City, Josh! 33,000 supporters can’t wait to see you line up for us in two months time!