Cardiff City’s new signing Jack Simpson: What can the ex-Rangers player offer to the Bluebirds?

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On Tuesday, Cardiff City announced the arrival of ex-Bournemouth and Rangers defender Jack Simpson as their fourteenth signing of the summer. But how well will his qualities mesh into the new-look Bluebirds line-up? Eyebrows were raised at the surprise news, with no media outlets reporting on the 25-year-old’s impending move to the Welsh capital prior to Cardiff’s announcement. The player’s profile is among the most intriguing of Cardiff’s incomings this summer, as Simpson appears to be at once a player with a great pedigree but a surprising lack of on-field experience. According to Transfermarkt, the defender has averaged only 7 appearances a season across 7 years at professional level in the Championship, Premier League and SPFL. However, arriving as the only left-footed central defender in a squad which Steve Morison is encouraging to play out of defence, Simpson could see his game-time significantly increased this season compared to usual. Morison confirmed to WalesOnline that Simpson had arrived without a transfer fee but with “contingencies if he does well,” which may mean that the centre-back will be even more incentivised to break into the team and start putting in performances than the usual new signing. Tactically, Simpson brings a whole new dimension to Cardiff’s attempt to start playing a more progressive game and rid themselves of the ‘long-ball’ brush which they have often been tarred with in the past. Simpson describes himself as a ball-playing defender, which will be music to the ears of some Bluebirds fans who have become accustomed to craning their necks in an effort to see the ball flying 80 yards up the pitch from hoofed passes from their defenders in recent years. Bizarrely, the defender’s most consistent run in the Bournemouth first-team came in last season’s Championship campaign between August and January, keeping four clean sheets in six through December and January before a puzzling permanent switch to Rangers saw him go on to make just one start in half a season in the Scottish first tier. In his early 20s, Simpson arguably was unable to capitalise on the key years of his development as a footballer due to insufficient game time, and he’ll be hoping to kickstart his development with regular game time at the Bluebirds. That all-important time on the pitch, however, is far from guaranteed. Cardiff already boasted a healthy contingent of 5 first-team centre backs ahead of Simpson’s arrival, and with no real evidence of form for the Englishman over this or last season it is hard to know where exactly in the pecking order he will rank. Cedric Kipré and Perry Ng appear to be the preferred duo at the heart of Steve Morison’s defence, despite the latter’s red card during the opening-day win versus Norwich. This move has the potential to be a real turning point for Jack Simpson’s career, and with regular game-time he certainly has the quality to become one of the better defenders in the league. Whether he can force his way into Steve Morison’s plans, however is a different question. It will certainly be an intriguing one to watch. Source

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