Cardiff City are looking ahead to a first full campaign under Mick McCarthy after plenty of promise towards the end of 2020/21.
McCarthy might not have delivered the play-off finish he once had in his sights, but there’s little denying that an eighth placed finish was a solid achievement and tees up expectations for next season.
One man that could come into Cardiff’s plans for the new season is Martyn Waghorn, with Football Insider claiming that the Bluebirds are monitoring the striker as he approaches the end of his contract with Derby County.
There will be an attempt to keep him at Pride Park, but we breakdown the links to Cardiff here:
Is it a good potential move?
Waghorn’s form across the last 12 months has hardly been convincing, with the 31-year-old scoring just five goals for Derby County and failing to inspire a faltering attack.
He did, though, score a brace on the final day of the season for the Rams, which contributed to Wayne Rooney’s side avoiding embarrassment and relegation into League One.
That’s an indication that Waghorn can still cut it in the Championship, but consistency is an issue.
It’s also worth noting the brief spell that Waghorn and McCarthy crossed paths earlier in their career, with the 2017/18 seeing the striker produce 16 goals in the Championship.
That prompted Derby to pay an initial £5m to get hold of Waghorn. Again, that underlines there’s talent there when it comes to the striker.
Would he start?
Looking at how McCarthy’s squad for next season looks right now, it’s hard to imagine.
Kieffer Moore scored 20 goals last season in the Championship for the Bluebirds last season, with the 28-year-old really showing signs that he’s ready to make the most of his peak years.
Then, there’s James Collins to consider. He’s scored 24 goals across two seasons in the Championship with Luton Town and has just arrived in Cardiff to link up with McCarthy’s squad for the new season.
Moore and Collins could well be McCarthy’s go-to attack next season in the Championship, providing the former stays put and Cardiff can ward off any potential suitors.
Waghorn, then, could be just back-up.
What does he offer?
Naturally, given Waghorn’s age and reasonably impressive career, you can point out the experience that he will bring to a Cardiff side that will hopefully be chasing play-off football. The 31-year-old was part of the Derby squad that reached the play-off final in 2019 and knows what it takes to mix it at the sharp end of the table.
He’s also got good knowledge of what McCarthy wants from his strikeforce and has proven he can deliver what the Cardiff boss wants.
In terms of style of play, there’s a versatility to Waghorn in that he’s not just an out-and-out striker. He can pull wide or play deep, which could be vital to Cardiff given Moore and Collins.
There’s more than just goals to Waghorn’s game, with four assists in 2020/21 underlining that. As per Wyscout, he also created 17 chances and had a hand in three other goals via the build-up play. Again, more than just a striker that scores goals, Waghorn’s all-round attacking game is actually quite complete.
Another quality Waghorn possesses is a wicked set-piece and ability to find the net from distance. Luxuries that won’t convince every Cardiff fan he’s the right signing, but a sprinkling of quality that could well swing games for the Bluebirds should he arrive.