Cardiff City chairman Mehmet Dalman has said the ball is firmly in Joe Ralls’ court now with the Bluebirds wanting to retain his services beyond the end of the season, speaking to BBC Radio Wales.
The second-tier side are facing a midfield exodus in the summer with Ralls, Will Vaulks, Leandro Bacuna and Marlon Pack all out of contract at the Cardiff City Stadium – and it looks as though the latter three’s wages are too high for the club to keep them.
Last October, Dalman revealed that the club were struggling financially due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and with the Bluebirds only recruiting loanees in January, Steve Morison may be working within a limited budget again.
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Speaking of loanees, Tommy Doyle is another player whose future is uncertain with the 20-year-old attracting interest from promotion favourites AFC Bournemouth – and it’s currently unclear whether he will return to the Welsh capital in time for next season.
That could leave the club with a real shortage of options in the middle of the park and Morison faces the possibility of needing to rebuild his midfield, a daunting task despite potentially having plenty of wiggle room in terms of offering out wages once the released players have departed.
One man who could potentially remain at the second-tier outfit though is Ralls – and chairman Dalman believes the 28-year-old’s destiny is now in his own hands.
He said: “I think it’s a question more for Joe than me actually. Joe has been a fantastic servant, very talented player, we like him a lot.
But really, it’s his call much more than ours (on whether to extend his stay).”
Keeping Ralls would definitely be useful considering how much of a threat he has managed to be going forward this term with his assists – and looks set to record more goal contributions next season if given the chance to do so.
At 28, he may not be an asset that Morison can sell on for a huge amount of money – but he’s still a valuable first-team player and they desperately need some stability in the middle of the park considering the changes that will be made in the summer.
Not only will the midfield be the subject of major surgery – but the entire team as well and Ralls could play a big part in helping summer signings to settle down if he remains at the club – so his presence could be important.
He’s also a figure the supporters admire too so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the two parties come to an agreement on fresh terms, with an extension probably beneficial for both the club and the player at this stage.
There’s definitely a need to freshen things up in the Welsh capital after a disappointing season and players like Bacuna certainly have no future at the second-tier side – but others do and Ralls is one of those having made a decent contribution to the cause this season.