When January comes, some of the more cash-strapped Premier League teams arrive cap in hand to the door of those more wealthy, asking whether their under-used stars temporarily fancy playing some actual football at their club for a few months.
No team will field more requests in that regard than Manchester United, whose £15m sensation Wilfried Zaha made his first competitive appearance for the Red Devils at the 14th opportunity in the Capital One Cup tie with Norwich.
It is because of his sparse amount of playing time that the enquiries have started to come through early, with Cardiff, 7/20 for Premier League survival, rumoured to have already put the loan feelers out for the Ivory Coast-born winger.
Cardiff wingers are making less than one successful dribble per game each
The Bluebirds’ current wingers are 34-year-old Craig Bellamy and Peter Whittingham, 29, neither of whom compare, pace-wise, to someone of Zaha’s ilk.
The pair are averaging under one successful dribble per game each, with both winding their way past an opponent 0.4 times per 90 minutes.
Zaha’s youth, pace and direct style would be a substantial upgrade in that department for Malky Mackay.
Zaha’s chances of seeing the grass at United will not improve
Since starting in the Community Shield against Wigan, where he was shepherd hooked after 61 minutes, Zaha’s only dalliances with a football have been on the training pitch, as game after game passed by the ex-Crystal Palace man.
David Moyes admitted before unleashing Zaha onto United’s competitive football scene at Norwich that a loan move in January may be the player’s only option of playing time, with Ashley Young, Nani, Antonio Valencia, Adnan Januzaj and even Shinji Kagawa all deemed more trustworthy to overturn the club’s lowly league standing.
Mackay is free to make his own market moves
Cardiff’s decision to replace head of recruitment, Iain Moody, with 23-year-old Khazak Alisher Apsalyamov backfired when the new man in the role was forced to step down over visa issues.
It leaves Mackay as the sole man in charge of transfer dealings, which radically improves Cardiff’s chances of securing a loan deal for Zaha.