Cardiff City have been linked with a former Manchester City and Chelsea defender ahead of their impending Premier League promotion.
He was once hailed as the long term competitor for Ashley Cole’s left back place in the England side but he never quite fulfilled on his potential, which has seen him drop into the Championship, currently playing for Brighton and Hove Albion.
Cardiff are very close to securing automatic promotion into the Premier League, which means they will have to make additions to their squad over the summer to give themselves a chance of staying up next season.
There are several reasons the club should go after Bridge with the most obvious being his ample experience in the top flight of English football.
The performances that Bridge has accumulated playing for Chelsea, Fulham, Manchester City, West Ham United and Sunderland means there is virtually no chance he’ll become daunted by the pressure of Premier League football.
At 32-years-old it may also be a move that Bridge may never have expected to come back around, which makes it easier for Cardiff to tie him down on a cheaper deal because it’s probably his last chance to get back into the Premier League.
His age has worn away the pace he once had during his Southampton and Chelsea days but he remains a very good defender, capable of playing to the highest level consistently.
He is effective at both ends of the pitch. Defensively he is still good enough to compensate for his lack of pace via his positions around the pitch and the way he can force talented wingers into areas where they are less effective.
He’s able to judge the best possible time to get forward considering his age and pace means he can’t always get back into position quickly and his delivery and distribution in the final third is as good as it ever has been.
The problem the club have is convincing him to move away from Sunderland, the club he’s currently owned by, especially if the Black Cats manage to stay in the Premier League for next season.
If Sunderland go down then it’s a no brainer for Bridge to try and force a move away and link up with Cardiff who will be going in the opposite direction.
However, that’s a massive if because if Sunderland do stay up, they are a very established Premier League side that have a genuine chance of staying where they are for next season and beyond as Paolo Di Canio increases his experience as a top flight manager.
Either way, it’s a very good potential signing for Cardiff and it’s both achievable and cheap. They will be a better defensive unit with him in the team than without him in the side.
Is Bridge worth a gamble?
image: © joncandy