Cardiff City have claimed that “imprudent and careless management” has cost them “in excess” of £8.5 million over their signing of unsuccessful striker Andreas Cornelius.
Cardiff chief executive Simon Lim criticised the transfer policies of former manager Malky Mackay and Iain Moody, the ex-head of recruitment, in a statement released yesterday.
Lim confirmed that the club effectively wrote off nearly £9m over Danish striker Cornelius, who has returned to FC Copenhagen after just seven months in Wales.
Club-record signing Cornelius failed to score in his doomed South Wales stint, and now Cardiff officials have singled out his disastrous transfer.
“The key shareholders have made their dissatisfaction of such a huge loss known to the board of directors which they believe is due to imprudent and careless management undertaken by the previous football management,” Lim said in the statement.
Cardiff’s chief executive also praised new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s work in the January transfer window, in another veiled swipe at former manager Mackay.
“Our shareholders have expressed their support and pleasure to the new management team,” the statement reads.
“Tan Sri Vincent Tan, through the board of directors and with their support, is ‘encouraged by the work done by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the January transfer window.’
“Solskjaer was instrumental in attracting top professionals who have the experience and the willpower to make an immediate impact in the club’s desire to maintain its Premier League status.”
Lim confirmed through the statement that Cardiff spent £6m on six permanent January recruits and the loan deal for Wilfried Zaha, and recouped £3m from player sales in the same period. “This is good business for the club, where all participants were fully informed and an integral part of a process,” said Lim.
“There has been a lot of press speculation on the loss incurred by the club due to sales. This, unfortunately, is true.
“We took the hard decision to incur these losses for the good of the club. To commit the club to a significant cost and liability over a five-year contract for one player is not prudent, especially as he was not to contribute to our success now, but was for the future.”
League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan leapt to Mackay’s defence last night, branding Lim and Cardiff’s statement “inappropriate and unprofessional”.
Bevan urged for caution during an ongoing legal process between Cardiff and Mackay, surrounding compensation and his departure from the club.
“It is most unfortunate that Mr Lim has chosen to speak out in this way,” said Bevan.
“Mr Lim is aware that there is a legal process under way between Malky Mackay and Cardiff City and it is both inappropriate and unprofessional for either party to be making public statements of this nature at this time.
“Given that Mr Lim has spoken out against Malky Mackay in relation to the acquisition of a player, however, it is only right that the record is put straight on the following two key issues.
“This is the same Mr Lim to whom, under the specific and express terms of Malky Mackay’s contract of employment with Cardiff City, Malky was obliged to report in respect of all matters pertaining to the transfer of players.
“This is the same Mr Lim who, when being asked more than once, upon dismissing Malky Mackay, why he was dismissing him, said that he did not know the reason.
“All football clubs at the elite level have systems in place for corporate governance. Cardiff City is no exception.
“A manager, even in the Premier League, does not go out and ‘sign’ players. All recommendations go to his CEO and board, essentially the chief executive on the board’s behalf – he deals with all financial arrangements to finalise any signings.”
Cardiff are currently 19th in the Barclays Premier League, just two points above bottom club Fulham.
They have now failed to score in 14 of their 26 league games, and the 0-0 draw against Aston Villa was just their sixth shut-out this term, and their first under Solskjaer.
This weekend Cardiff at least get to take their minds off their league woes, with an FA Cup fifth-round tie against Wigan to look forward to tomorrow.