Cardiff City entered this transfer window desperate to boost their rankings as they look to continue their fight for a top-six finish.

The start to the season is far from perfect, but Erol Bulut has significantly improved the team since arriving just over six months ago. The game team is better, seems much more disciplined and structured and stays in the games until the end; The coach praised the players’ fight and spirit countless times this season.

In many ways, they exceeded expectations. With 20 league games left this season, they are still firmly in the game. The Bluebirds are in ninth place and just three points off the play-off place after a relatively productive Christmas and New Year.

For the first time in several seasons, they find themselves in a position of relative strength. With the three transfer windows finally in place, Cardiff are now looking for players to take them to the next level rather than lift them out of the feared and potentially devastating relegation zone.

Yes, there is certainly a feeling of cautious optimism, but January is notoriously a difficult month for trading. There are a lot of moving parts and Cardiff will have to be quick and pivot if necessary. Sign up to our Cardiff City newsletter here.

So what do we know about Cardiff’s January window? Here’s a breakdown of the main talking points, objectives and what’s been said about it so far…

Kiefer Moore

Let’s not avoid the 6’5″ elephant in the room. Kieffer Moore is clearly Cardiff City’s top target this summer, with Bulut looking to strengthen the Bluebirds’ forward line. Here’s everything Bulut had to say about the Bournemouth shooter.

“At the beginning of the season, we tried to bring him in,” Bulut said of Moore in late November. “We couldn’t resolve it. It’s not just up to us, he’s a Bournemouth player. We have to discuss this with them.

“We are working hard on what will happen in January. Our president is Ken Chu. We have some players. Hopefully we can complete these three or four transfers.

“If we can get Kiefer, we won’t bench him. We would use that. That’s why I want it! Kiefer Moore, if we manage to sign him, he won’t play for his team, he’ll play for the national team.” “He has played well, like against Croatia, if possible we will have a quality player who is very good in attack.”

Asked whether Cardiff wanted to loan Moore out or sign him permanently, Bulut added: “I don’t know if we can afford him or not. That’s it for the board of directors. I think it will be easier in January because the sanctions won’t be like they were at the beginning of the season.”

In December, after Moore scored against Crystal Palace, Bulut laughed and said: “I didn’t like it! I played along. He is a good striker. “We will do our best in January.”

Of course, Cardiff would be foolish to put all their eggs in one basket. Bulut said on Monday, the day the transfer window opened, that he and the board would have to draw up a list in case their attempt to sign Moore somehow fell by the wayside. Asked about Moore, the coach said: “You can ask the players, but it’s important to take the opposing team into consideration when you want to release him; maybe they also need a transfer, so they will also wait for the end (something may happen). These are all small details. We also have to look at more than one player. Two, three or four attackers. We have to make all the plans, we can’t just focus on one player. If that doesn’t happen, you’re not a player!

“We need some players. Options A, B, C and even D for the few items we need. “We have some players and we will have a meeting in the next few days about what we can do.”

Anastasios Bakasetas

Another player heavily linked to Cardiff by the Turkish press is Anastasios Bakasetas, a player who played with Bulut at one of his previous clubs, Alanyaspor.

The 30-year-old Greek captain’s contract with Trabzonspor expires at the end of the season and many media outlets claim he has rejected two new offers to remain at the club. Trabzonspor had to issue a statement to deny media speculation. It comes after Serdar Bali, who played as a midfielder for Trabzonspor between 1975 and 1980 and again between 1985 and 1988, announced that an agreement had been reached with Cardiff for his transfer.

“According to the information I received, Bacasetas has reached an agreement with Cardiff.” Bali said. “Of course, I don’t know if someone will pay more for a signing and change their mind, these things happen. It’s not worth talking about Bakasetas. It’s Trabzonspor’s management’s fault. You signed a contract at the beginning. from last season, knowing that he will be inactive at the end of the season. “Then we could sell it.”

However, when Bulut was asked about the percentage, he tried to temper expectations due to the player’s salary expectations.

“This is the player I brought to Alanya when I was there. We reached the cup final and the Europa League with (Manolis) Siopis in Alanya with me,” Bulut said of the attacking midfielder. “Also, when I was coach of Fenerbahçe, I wanted him to be there, but we couldn’t, so he went to Trabzonspor.” At Trabzonspor he won the cup and plays well.

“I think that considering the amount he earns in Trabzon, our club cannot pay that salary. That is why this agreement seems difficult to us. He is a great player and I know him very well. We’ve been together for a long time. We pushed him to where he is now and he knows it. “I know what he can contribute to the team.”

He added early last month: “He’s a great player. He would be a great addition to us. But it’s impossible to bring him here because of the salary. “First of all, it would cost money to accept him, even if he were free we wouldn’t be able to pay his salary.”

Bulut, however, appeared on a fan forum just days before Christmas and Bluebirds fans seemed encouraged by what he had to say about Bakasetas, contrary to his previous statement. When asked to explain the situation, he left the door open.

“They [the fans] “They asked me which players I would like to see on the team, Bakasetas told me, of course he is one of those players!” Bulut said. “But the economy, whether we succeed or not… is not just about Baka, but about some other players. If you ask me which players (I would like), I can give you a good list! Is not difficult.

“It’s important (to ask) is this possible for Cardiff City? I don’t know. “We have a lot of names on the list.”

Reports in Turkey suggest that Trabzonspor want £1.3m (€1.5m) for Bakashetash, with Turkish club Besiktas willing to offer him £430,000 (€500,000). They also claim he hopes to complete a deal worth £1.73m (€2m) a year, which equates to a £33,000-a-week (€38,000) contract.

Salih Ujan

Links with Besiktas midfielder Salih Ucan shined brightly, but not much later, around the same time reports about Bakasetas in Turkey emerged.

“I read a lot about it,” Bulut said of the Ucan connection. “Salih Ukan also played for Alanyaspor, where I also had Manolis Siopis. He was a good midfielder and they played very well together, but we are not at the level where we can buy him.

“It will be very expensive for us. I don’t know who wrote this in the press, maybe his agent will try to get a new contract with Beşiktaş!

Responding to calls with former players last month, Bulut said at a press conference: “Just like Salih Ucan, I have a good relationship with all my former players. Of course I would like to sign a lot of players here, but that’s not the case.” possibility of paying them.

“That’s not going to happen. It’s too expensive. It’s impossible for us. There are too many names we can’t bring here. I always want the best for my team, for Cardiff City. I turn to the players and put pressure on them. But for “ We want and do two different things. We want quality and good players in our squad. In January we will push to get three or four players.”

These rumors appear to have quickly dissipated following Bulut’s comments.

Financial fair play

A very relevant aspect of all this is the Financial Fair Play (FFP) considerations. Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman said the club’s main priority in the January transfer window is meeting profit and sustainability standards as the Bluebirds look to build their squad for the end of the season.

At the meeting with the Cardiff City Supporters Trust, Dahlmann said in November that the club would need to recoup money owed to ensure it could operate within the league’s budgetary requirements.

Following his meeting with Dahlman, the CCST said the Bluebirds president is eager to improve his team in the new year. They wrote: “A question was raised in the room regarding signing prospects in the January transfer window. Mehmet stated that the club’s first priority is to maintain profitability and stability.

“He said we have the budget to meet the needs, but we need to turn the budget into reality by ensuring that the money owed to the club is paid. Taking these conditions into account, the club wants to improve the squad. The question has been raised as to whether a substantial offer has been received for an existing player. Would the club accept her? Mehmet’s response was that everything is at stake, but the club would really hate to lose a player who has been instrumental in maintaining the current improvement on the pitch.”

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This goes hand in hand with waste and the need to remove dead weight from the equipment. There are some players who simply haven’t shown enough under Bulut to earn a place in the team.

Andy Rinomhota and Romain Sawyers definitely fall into this category. Cardiff wanted to get them out last summer but were unable to find the right suitors for them before the window closed. They hope that won’t be the case when they play on January 31st.

Bulut is not afraid to make bold decisions. He cheekily said of the team: “We have to raise the bar further. Our level is already a higher level, so some players will have difficulties with this and we need to raise another level.”

If Cardiff plan to bring in players on loan, they need to free up some places. Alex Runarsson behaved badly when he had the opportunity to play between the sticks and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he returned to Arsenal. Likewise, little-used Jonathan Panzo may want more game time and his parent club Nottingham Forest would certainly like to see him get more minutes.

Cardiff will also try to get Vontae Campbell out of the club again, that’s for sure. He will not play for the first team, he is already 22 years old and needs to look for a new club. Goalkeeper Rohan Luthra, winger Kieron Evans, midfielder Cameron Antwi, right-back Jai Semenyo and youngsters Joel Colville and Cian Ashford, who train with the first team, will be considered for loan.

On the other hand, Bulut said that the club is studying the option of recovering Joel Bagan from his loan at Sülte-Waregem. It will be worth keeping an eye on whether Jamil Collins’ absence from Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations squad will make any difference.