Mehmet Dalman has opened up the reasons behind three of Cardiff City’s most high-profile transfer decisions.
The Bluebirds’ decisions to buy Gary Madine for £6m proved to be a disaster, the striker not even managing a single goal in his spell in the Welsh capital.
And two other deals that had the fans talking were the decisions to offload Bobby Decordova-Reid and Kenneth Zohore with the Championship season barely underway.
The two star strikers had each shone brightly in Cardiff’s final Premier League match, a 2-0 win at Manchester United, but despite those stellar displays clearly didn’t figure in Neil Warnock’s plans any more.
He feels the £8m Cardiff received from West Brom for Zohore was excellent value for money and explained Reid left because he didn’t fit in with the style of play Warnock wanted to adopt.
Madine joined the Bluebirds from Championship rivals Bolton in January 2018, with Neil Warnock’s men strongly placed for a promotion push at the time.
He left South Wales in January, without a Cardiff goal to his name.
Despite Madine’s barren spell, Dalman believes the Bluebirds were right to recruit the forward, but concedes they paid over the odds for the man now at Blackpool.
“If you remember at the time, we were competing for promotion, and it was the January transfer window,” he told ACE Podcast Nation.
“Gary Madine was a favourite of the manager, he wanted him on board because he thought he could make the difference in giving us a chance of promotion.
“In my view, Gary Madine was valued at around £3m but we ended up paying £5m and a bit for him.
“We took an educated decision that we were paying around £2m more than we should have for a player that could just make that difference for promotion.
“Did he really make that difference for us or not? I don’t know. But we did get promoted, and he did play his part.
“The fact that he came off from there onwards is a whole different discussion.
“We tried to sell him, but quite frankly there were no takers. Even loaning him out was difficult.
“I think Gary needed to move on and we let him go.
“We will not get everybody right, but I still think Gary Madine was the right decision for us in that promotion push.”
Warnock had some tremendous success in the transfer market during his time as Cardiff boss, with the likes of Sol Bamba and Junior Hoilett joining on free transfers while Neil Etheridge and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing were recruited on Bosman deals.
But one of his biggest triumphs in terms of personnel on the pitch was the transformation of Zohore.
The Danish forward netted just twice in his 17 appearances for Cardiff prior to Warnock’s move to South Wales, but suddenly hit the ground running with 12 times in a 23-game spell during the 2016/17 campaign.
He went on to bag nine Championship goals in Cardiff’s promotion-winning season, although he failed to deliver the goods in the Premier League, scoring just once in 19 appearances.
That poor top-flight campaign didn’t deter West Brom from parting with £8m to take Zohore to the Midlands last summer.
And Dalman says the profit made on Zohore serves as proof that the club were right to stick by him during his struggles.
“Look at Kenneth Zohore. Kenneth did nothing for us until Warnock came on board,” he said.
“We went into a game, we were 2-0 down at half-time, went into the dressing room and he put Kenneth Zohore on the field.
“He came on, scored one and made one and we drew that day. I went to see Neil after the game and said ‘What on earth did you say to him?’.
“He created a player that suddenly had belief and confidence and he gave us a very good season for the rest of that time.
“The fact he went off the boil again and we sold him for £8m, we paid £700,000 for him thanks to Ken Choo, he was peaky-eyed and picked him up in the first place.
“It’s easy to look at the mistakes we’ve made, and we will make mistakes, but you tell me a club that buys every player and it works out.”
As for Decordova-Reid, his transfer to Championship rivals Fulham caused a real stir among the Cardiff fans at the start of the season when he departed just one game in.
And Dalman admits the attacker didn’t suit Warnock’s playing style, with Fulham’s permanent offer in January proving too good to turn down.
When asked why Decordova-Reid was sold to a major promotion rival, Dalman responded: “Because they gave us a very good offer.
“I think at the end of the day, the football Neil Warnock was playing didn’t suit Reid, and Reid didn’t feel terribly comfortable with the style of football that was being played.
“We tried to adjust to that and we were not getting there.
“When Fulham came with the offer that they did, we took it.
“It was the right thing for us to do because you can’t force a player to play in a certain style, but you are not going to change the team.”