Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock states he already has a replacement set up to replace out of contract centre-back Bruno Manga.
The 28-year-old centre-back, who joined Cardiff in 2014 from French club Lorient on a three-year deal has played over 70 games for the Bluebirds and has been a stand out performer.
However, after been asked to take a pay cut to remain at the club, Warnock has resigned to losing the Gabon international this summer.
“Bruno tells me one thing, but I know what agents will be like and I don’t expect that to be successful, If people don’t want to play for Cardiff City and if they don’t want to put a blue shirt on, then they’re not for us,” Warnock told BBC Wales Sport.
Warnock may have stated that he has a line of candidates ready to replace Manga, he failed to give any clues on who he could be targeting.
Which leaves the question, who could be a realistic replacement for the Gabon international at Cardiff?
A like for like centre-back in every aspect. Bassong is tall, confident and carries a huge physical presence similar to Bruno Manga. The Cameroon international has been finding games hard to come by this season at Carrow Road and will most definitely be looking for a move away. 30 years of age, leaves him a couple years older than Manga but with over 100 Premiership appearances to his name, Bassong certainly has the experience factor over Manga. Also, with Bassong out of contract in the summer, Warnock will not have to spend a penny on the signing of him.
The only serious negative which this candidate brings, is Bassong will probably be looking for similar wage demands to Manga. Although, if Warnock can guarantee him first team football, that might just persuade him to join the Bluebirds.
A centre-back probably not on Warnock’s bucket list, the former French under-21 has struggled to get game time since moving to Leicester from Atlanta in 2015. However, there is no doubt that he holds a great amount of talent and leadership which showed during his time at Atlanta and especially Saint-Etienne, where he began his career.
Benalouane also may consider a drop down in divisions to play for Cardiff, as in more than one occasion he has stated how much he loves the British lifestyle. He would also be guaranteed first team football in Cardiff which may be the main factor behind him dropping down a division.
Eastham will be on the lips on many Championship managers in the summer, after a remarkable season at Fleetwood helping them claim a League One play-off spot, with time still to overtake Bolton and grab an automatic promotion place.
The 26-year-old English defender had a shaky start to his career, going out on loan to eight different clubs during his time at Blackpool. Although, following his move to Rochdale in 2013, his defensive qualities and leadership really started to show.
If Fleetwood are to get promoted up to the Championship for next season, getting Eastham’s signature may prove to be a hard task, but Warnock would be guaranteed a strong, physical and reliable centre-back to lead his team to victories.
Cardiff fans…What do you think? Would you be happy with any of these centre-backs suggested? Who would you like to see Warnock sign as a replacement? Let us know in the comments below…