Cardiff will largely be expected to be the top performers of the promoted clubs, but investment is very much needed on a squad that looks impressive at Championship level, but far less so in elevated company. Unfortunately, Malky Mackay is already talking about 'being cute' with budgets.
Last Updated: 13/06/13 11:57am
What's been said: "As the levels rise, you've still got to be cute, to be prudent with the money. The owner is certainly someone who doesn't throw good money after bad and every penny I spend, I document and give him a reason as to why it's been spent. It's not about gut feeling, it's about business reasons as to why we should buy players. So that doesn't change. You try to get good players in and they've got to be value for money" - Malky Mackay.
The budget: A reported £25m.
What's needed: Of the three promoted sides, Cardiff are probably best placed to survive in the Premier League - but that's rather a backhanded compliment. Will £25m be enough to make them better than clubs like Norwich and Aston Villa who are likely to be in that relegation battle again? Perhaps. Malky Mackay is right in saying that they need to be 'cute', and rumours of moves for Carlton Cole and Danny Graham can certainly be filed under 'cute', but cute enough to survive? Probably not. Half of that reported £25m budget should go on strikers to augment a distinctly Championship-looking line-up of Nicky Maynard and Fraizer Campbell. 'Cute' would be to follow West Ham's lead and find a striker kicking their heels at a big club - if his inflated wages keep you in the Premier League, it's been a short-term but sensible investment.
At the risk of saying this every year for promoted clubs, Cardiff basically need a fair bit of quality across the park, but with emphasis on the defence. There's no real Premier League quality amongst Kevin McNaughton, Matthew Connolly, Andrew Taylor, Ben Turner and Mark Hudson. To avoid doing a Reading and surrendering their Premier League status with a whimper, Malkay is going to have to be cuter than a whole box of kittens.
Ideal signing: Nicky Maynard and Fraizer Campbell can not be relied upon to score regularly, and so a striker is key. Hull's approach for Celtic's Gary Hooper could force Cardiff's hand, and if he can transfer his impressive tally in the SPL (a big if) he could prove valuable in a relegation battle.
Sky Bet: Of the promoted teams, Cardiff are the only side Sky Bet made odds-on (1/2) to stay up. They're 6/4 to be relegated and 7/1 to finish bottom, but survival could well hinge on who they draft in. Carlton Cole is 12/1 to sign, but at present he's thought to be a target of Celtic, should they decide to cash in on Gary Hooper this summer. Hooper, incidentally, is 20/1 to sign for Mackay's men. They're also considered to be in the running for Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam (20/1), but face competition from Crystal Palace, managed by the Scot's former boss Ian Holloway. Adam Le Fondre impressed in short spurts for Reading last season and at least showed that he can score goals at this level - he's 12/1 to join Cardiff this summer. The Championship winners are 7/1 for a top-half finish and 33/1 to win any trophy. Transfer specials here
Release list: Heidar Helguson, Stephen McPhail, Nathaniel Jarvis, Elliot Parish, Jesse Darko.
Read our up-to-the-minute live Cardiff transfer feed here