This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
League One side MK Dons have secured the loan signing of Cardiff City striker Max Watters on loan, with his future in the Welsh capital already looking uncertain after only joining the Bluebirds six months ago.
The 22-year-old signed from fourth-tier outfit Crawley Town in January for an undisclosed fee after scoring 13 goals in 15 appearances in League Two during the first half of last season – and will now drop down from the Championship to try and rediscover this form.
He is currently being kept out of Mick McCarthy’s side by Welsh international Kieffer Moore who scored 20 Championship goals last season and with James Collins joining on a free transfer from Luton Town in May, Watters now finds himself out in the cold at the Cardiff City Stadium.
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However, Russell Martin’s MK Dons have offered the 22-year-old a lifeline and Watters will be desperate to impress out on loan as he looks to make it in the Championship. Although this is a step down to the third tier, it’s still a good platform for the striker to showcase what he can do.
But after this loan move, we asked three members of our FLW team if they believe the forward has a future at Cardiff City.
It’s hard to say, but it’s evident that Mick McCarthy certainly doesn’t see him in his immediate Bluebirds plans.
The 22-year-old enjoyed a fantastic time in front of goal during his stint at Crawley Town in League Two, but he’s struggled to kick on and cement a place at Cardiff since Neil Harris brought him to south Wales.
A loan move to a League One club like MK Dons looks the ideal next step for the player as he looks to re-capture his former self on the pitch, and you’d imagine Cardiff will be keeping a close eye on his progress at Stadium MK.
Watters does have age on his side and perhaps McCarthy feels he just needs to get more game-time under his belt, before he enters his thoughts.
There is no denying that the striker will face an up-hill task getting into the Cardiff team though, especially given Cardiff’s lofty ambitions for next season as they battle for a spot in the Premier League.
With the likes of Kieffer Moore and James Collins at the club, his pathway into the first-team is virtually non-existent, so time and patience is required with Watters.
I think that it will be really hard for Max Watters to establish himself.
The striker was unbelievable with Crawley Town in League Two during his brief time with the club and the hope was that he’d continue that goal glut in South Wales.
Unfortunately stepping up to the Championship was always going to be a big ask.
Moving to MK Dons seems like the ideal place for him to go this season as he looks to continue building up his track record.
If he has a successful season in League One then there’s every chance that he could be handed a chance with Cardiff next term, but my gut tells me that he might find it tough.
I think he’ll find regular game time hard to come by with the Bluebirds.
Mick McCarthy has wasted no time in adding to his attacking options this summer, and that would have only pushed Watters further down the pecking order in the Cardiff manager’s plans.
So, it didn’t come as a surprise to see him loaned out this season, and he’ll be hoping he can make a positive impact with the League One side.
If he can do that, then he might have a small chance of being presented with an opportunity in the Cardiff first-team, but to be honest, his long-term future probably lies elsewhere if we’re being realistic.
At the age of 22, he’s still got plenty of years to develop into a fine player, but it wouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see him depart the club permanently in the next couple of seasons.