This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand….
Cardiff City look set to keep hold of goalkeeper Neil Etheridge this month with West Ham having now agreed a £4million fee to bring Darren Randolph to the London Stadium, according to the Guardian.
FLW reported yesterday that West Ham had added Etheridge to their list of candidates to replace Roberto Jimenez as the club’s second-choice goalkeeper, but it appears as though they have now settled on a move for Middlesbrough’s Randolph.
This means that Cardiff’s number-one goalkeeper now looks primed to spend the second half of the season with the Bluebirds, with the likes of Alex Smithies and Joe Day set to continue their wait for a regular place in Neil Harris’ side.
Smithies enjoyed a stint between the sticks earlier this season during Etheridge’s injury lay-off, but the Philippines international then managed to re-establish himself in the side in mid-October, and he has played every league game since.
Etheridge has kept four clean sheets during his 16 league appearances for the Bluebirds this campaign, while he has also pulled off some excellent saves in the process in order to help his side achieve some impressive results under Harris.
However, despite Etheridge’s continued form between the sticks, Cardiff should still definitely consider the possibility of offloading the goalkeeper if a serious offer comes in for the 29-year-old during this transfer window.
Can you score maximum points in this Cardiff quiz? Have a go now!
This is because Cardiff could utilise what would likely be a handsome transfer fee on other areas of the squad, and there would be no immediate need to strengthen the goalkeeping department seeing as there are already two other options players in Smithies and Day.
Smithies has proven earlier this season that he is more than capable of playing between the sticks for Cardiff on a regular basis, and his distribution is even better than that of Etheridge who has struggled with the ball at his feet of late.
This means the switch would be unlikely to affect Cardiff’s league form significantly, and Smithies could even excel even further if he is entrusted with the first-choice berth by Harris, which makes this avenue Cardiff could easily explore.
While Cardiff will certainly not be looking to offload Etheridge by any means, they should at least take some time to carefully ponder any potential offers that are made for the 29-year-old’s services.