I want Callum Robinson to succeed at Cardiff City – but worry too much water is under the bridge

-Credit: (Image: Huw Evans Picture Agency)
-Credit: (Image: Huw Evans Picture Agency)

If I told you Cardiff City were signing a player who has scored 49 Championship goals and has 35 assists in the division, predominantly from the wing, along with goals in the Premier League and at an international level, Bluebirds fans would be pretty pleased.

But Cardiff already have that player in Callum Robinson. At 29, the Republic of Ireland international should be at the peak of his powers. He averages a goal every 4.8 games in a Cardiff shirt and it's a far better ratio than almost anyone else in the squad.

He covers a multitude of positions, too, including wing, striker and No.10, can score and assist and, importantly, has done it at this level for a decade.

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Erol Bulut wants to sign a striker and a winger this summer and wants to pump more goals in the squad. That's understandable, of course, given how poor they were from open play last season. Sign up to our Cardiff City newsletter here.

Owner Vincent Tan, however, also doesn't need another reason to be hesitant over releasing the purse strings to sign players – and they spent £1.5million on Robinson from West Brom less than two years ago. He desperately wants Robinson to be a success.

I also want Callum Robinson to succeed at Cardiff because I think he is a good Championship player who knows where the back of the net is. When he is on form, which we saw during his first season, he is a real weapon, and with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Rubin Colwill, David Turnbull and proven strikers around him, he has the potential to have a major impact for Cardiff next season.

City have a dearth of experienced, quality wingers right now. They have teenager Cian Ashford, who has less than a handful of first-team appearances to his name, Ollie Tanner, who had a mixed first year in the first team last term, and Callum O'Dowda, who is a good operator at this level but has also had his injury troubles, as their wing options at present.

Beyond Karlan Grant and Josh Bowler last year, Cardiff had very little to fall back on and put Yakou Meite out on the flank – the Ivorian had varying degrees of success. The question marks which hang over Robinson's head as we enter the summer make his future a talking point among City supporters. There are footballing reasons for wanting him to stay, although I do worry too much water might have passed under the bridge last season.

Firstly, Bulut publicly called out Robinson, who missed early-season games due to injuries, and Colwill for their lack of work rate off the ball, insisting he wouldn't start either of them until their defensive output rapidly improved.

They both got reprieves, but Robinson's was short lived. He started just nine Championship games and has played just 47 minutes of league football in 2024. An illness was cited, so was injury, while Bulut also pulled him from the squad for disciplinary reasons, he revealed back in April.

"They are not injured. It's a disciplinary penalty from my side," Bulut said when asked why Robinson and Mahlon Romeo were absent during the 1-0 win over Birmingham City.

"We don’t need to speak about this. It is internal that we cleared it. I spoke with the player. I said at the start of the season, discipline and respect are the most important things for me. They were a little bit away from that. That's why they were not with us."

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While Bulut will of course have had his reasons, which remain private within the club, it's always important to note there are two sides to every story. The manager has his say every week, while players — as Lee Tomlin told us in a recent interview — are sometimes unable to give their version of events.

Nevertheless, that relationship, at least from the outside, appeared to have broken down. Can it be mended? Only the two people involved know that. But if Cardiff end up going out looking for a goalscoring and versatile winger to replace a goalscoring and versatile winger, to all intents and purposes it defeats the object.

Robinson should be playing north of 35 games for any decent side in the Championship and will chip in with his fair share of goals if afforded the opportunity. If they get shot of him this summer, they will need a hefty transfer fee and, more importantly, an able replacement – both are far easier said than done.