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Wales Online
Wales Online
Glen Williams

The Cardiff City change that saved the Bluebirds millions in the January transfer window

From very early on in the January transfer window, it became apparent that Neil Harris wanted to bolster his attacking ranks.

City had struggled for consistent goals from their frontmen all season, or for the last half a dozen seasons, for that matter, and it was universally acknowledged that it was an area of their squad which needed major surgery.

Gary Madine, despite being afforded further opportunities when Harris was brought in, continued to fluff his lines. He was shipped on with a risible record of zero goals in 28 games.

Omar Bogle left for ADO Den Haag having never really cut it in the Welsh capital. It was a surprise to many when he forced his way back into contention at all this season under Neil Warnock.

He will likely never be seen in a Cardiff City shirt again.

Isaac Vassell is still showing no real sign of making a comeback, however it is understood he is back training in some capacity. You have to feel sorry for him given his horrific injury record in recent seasons, especially as he is only 26.

He came on and scored his dramatic winner to seal a dream debut against Luton Town, this weekend's opponents, but in truth did very little thereafter before sustaining his seemingly season-ending quad injury on under-23s duty.

So Robert Glatzel and Danny Ward were the ones tasked with scoring the goals. While they have not done badly by any stretch, it says a lot that neither have really grabbed that starting spot with both hands.

It meant, then, that some sections of the fan base were itching for reinforcements and we subsequently learned that Cardiff City held an interest in bringing Kieffer Moore from Wigan last month.

Wigan striker Kieffer Moore was the subject of Cardiff interest last month (Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)

The Wales international has earned a few thousand extra fans in this corner of the world after his heroics in the national shirt helped to seal Euro 2020 qualification.

However Wigan's plight this season has been well documented and Moore's club form was hardly anything to write home about.

It meant City fans were indifferent towards bringing him to Cardiff City Stadium and, having been rebuffed with an initial £2.3m bid, the Latics' £4m valuation of the player proved too high.

So, back to the drawing board, then. Or so it would seem.

But, quietly, in the background, one player was emerging as the ready-made answer to the problem.

Callum Paterson would probably admit himself he didn't start the season like a house on fire. He was often deployed as a battling midfielder in Neil Warnock's abrasive and direct City team.

The Scot was used instead of Lee Tomlin, instead of alongside him, and looked lost in the system.

But, under Harris, that appears to have changed. The new manager has entrusted him with the role of main striker on a number of occasions and Paterson has come up trumps.

And what perfect timing for everyone, too.

In the middle of a hectic transfer window in which City were prepared to spend at least a couple of million on a new marksman, they rediscovered one who had been lying dormant all season.

Paterson has scored four goals in his last five starts for the Bluebirds and has arguably earned the right to start up front for the foreseeable future, with fixtures set to come thick and fast this month.

He has been combative, physical and aerially dominant, but he has also been subtle and showed how astute he can be when it comes to link-up play.

We all knew he could score headers and pop up with the odd screamer from distance, but recently he has shown a genuine goalscoring knack and a true striker's instinct when finishing from close range.

The player has also made no secret of the fact he wants to play up front and believes that's where his future lies – despite being signed as a right back from Hearts three years ago.

Callum Paterson and Neil Harris, manager of Cardiff City (Getty Images)

There is a long list of strikers who have been deemed failures at Cardiff City in recent years, many of whom cost sums of money which will make the top brass wince.

However, there is no doubting it is an area they will once again have to revisit this summer, especially with the lingering question mark of Ward's contract running out at the end of the campaign.

But the biggest difference is that the summer window will see the hugely-inflated January prices drop.

Harris' remit was to cut the squad drastically in January and he knew he did not have wads of cash at his disposal. He hopes that is not the case in the summer, in fact ahead of next season, and a striker is likely to be back on the list of priorities once again.

But, for now at least, Paterson has earned his spot, is scoring the goals and, as a result, City have saved millions. The answer was right under their noses all along.

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