Meet Cardiff City’s record transfer signing: Andreas Cornelius
For a player with just one season under his belt in professional football, £8.5m – a deal which has smashed Cardiff’s previous transfer record of £5m for Michael Chorpa – seems an awful lot for a relatively unknown player. Despite this, Andreas Cornelius is the latest Danish youngster to make an impression on a list of European clubs, with the Bluebirds coming from nowhere to secure his services.
ViewFromTheStands looks at what tempted Mackay to make a move for the youngster, and just why was he so sought after by a handful of fellow Premier League sides?
Cornelius was picked up by Copenhagen just two years ago at the age of 18 from Fremad Amager, at which time he was beginning to make a name for himself at international level. Firstly with the U -18 side where he scored twice in his six appearances, before moving on to U -19 level where he tallied four more goals.
Just 12 months after making the short move across Copenhagen from Amager, Cornelius made his club début in April 2012 – one of two appearances he would make for the club at the back end of the season. It would be the following campaign (2013/14) however that the 6ft 4in striker would truly shine, starting with his first goal for Copenhagen against Midtjylland on the opening day, which he followed up with another strike against Odense in a 2-2 draw.
Cornelius would go on to score 18 top-flight goals for his club in the Danish Superliga last season, making him the top scorer in Denmark at the age of just 20. This, combined with the six caps he picked up for his country – including a goal against the Czech Republic in March – has led to Stoke, QPR, Everton, Chelsea and Arsenal among others sending scouts out to the Scandinavian country to pay close attention to the youngster.
After being strongly tipped with a move to Everton this summer, Cornelius responded by saying: “It’s a big pat on the back that Everton are watching me. I know the club, I’ve seen them a few times and the Premier League is a great competition.” A move to the Premier League was imminent.
The striker, who it should be remembered was still aged just 19 until the closing months of the campaign, became the fastest player to reach double figures in a season – taking just 76 days to reach the milestone. Yet another sign of his undoubted ability, which has allowed him to build up a real bond with the fans of Copenhagen.
The obvious comparison many make when they first see Cornelius is that he is ‘the next Nicklas Bendtner’, which frankly is an insult. Despite just 12 months of senior football under his belt, Cornelius has shown that not only can he score an abundance of headers, but he also has a sweet left foot, not being afraid to shoot from anywhere – as can be seen in the video below. He also has terrific footwork, which, combined with the attributes listed above, highlight just why it is the youngster has been so closely monitored by Europe’s elite over the last six months.
One aspect of Cornelius’ game that is often criticised is his passing ability, though taking screenshots (above left) from his sides clash with FK Molde in the Europa League last season – his first taste of European Cup football – the Danish forward showed that he has the ability to drift deep in order to link up play, but can also fulfil his main duty: Scoring goals.
Being such a tall player, Cornelius is also looked at as being a target man. Rather interestingly, in the return match against Molde, the Dane made 18 passes, and as can be seen in the snapshot taken from StatsZone (right), only three of them were anywhere near the opposition box. Cornelius has been brought to Cardiff to score goals; anything else he can add to the side in terms of bringing others into play is a bonus.
Many questions will be asked as to why Malky Mackay has splashed out £8.5m on an unknown striker, but the truth is with Cardiff City now in the Premier League, these are the type of signings that can make – or break – a season. Cornelius may be young and inexperienced, but he certainly knows how to score goals, and in this division, they are priceless.
At the age of 19, Cornelius became the fastest player in Denmark to reach double figures in a season – taking just 76 days.