New CCFC striker Sory Kaba.
Image: @SoryKaba2 on Twitter.

Sory Kaba profile: Cardiff City’s new striker has played in the Champions League

The 27-year-old arrives from FC Midtjylland in Denmark

CARDIFF City have completed the signing of FC Midtjylland striker Sory Kaba in the final hours of the January transfer window.

The 27-year-old Guinea international joins on a contract until the end of the 2022/23 season.

Kaba started all six games in FC Midtjylland’s 2020/21 Champions League campaign and even scored a goal against Lazio in this season’s Europa League.

Last August, he played both legs in the club’s third qualifying round tie against Benfica.

His career has previously taken him to the Belgian Pro League with OH Leuven, Ligue 1 with Dijon and Liga 2 with Elche CF.

He leaves FC Midtjylland with 26 goals and 15 assists in 102 games.

New first team manager Sabri Lamouchi will hope that Kaba can improve his side’s fortunes in front of goal. With just 21 goals in 28 games, the Bluebirds are the lowest-scoring side in the Championship.

Summer signing Callum Robinson has done well to get 11 goal contributions in 18 games, but no other player has registered more than six.

So what can City fans expect from Sory Kaba?

Physical presence

Kaba won’t be hard to find in the City dressing room. At 6ft 2 in, he is the fourth tallest player in the squad and second tallest attacker behind Kion Etete.

For months, City supporters have bemoaned the lack of a target for crosses and aerial balls. Despite his stature, Etete has only managed to win 52% of his aerial duels in the Championship.

Lamouchi will hope that Kaba strikes a balance between Etete’s stature and Robinson’s intelligence to add another threat to attacks.

Kaba’s aerial duel win rate of 58% in his season in Ligue 1 suggests he may make a better target for the Bluebirds when they are looking to play long.

Space invader

Although Kaba has a target man’s stature, he seems inclined to drive forwards rather than hold up the ball with his back to goal.

Expect him to stick to the opposition’s centre-backs and try to beat them off the mark. He does possess the profile to give Championship defenders a hard time – never knowing whether to come touch-tight or give him a yard of space.

Kaba in FC Midtjylland training. Image: @SoryKaba2 on Twitter.

Bluebirds fans will be glad to hear that Kaba is a very competent header of the ball – even when he is in motion, and dealing with crosses that come at a difficult angle.

The Guinean may offer a blend of strength and movement that Cardiff City have not enjoyed since Kieffer Moore.

Pulling the trigger

Kaba’s highlight reel reveals a player that likes to pounce on loose balls and get a shot on goal – first-time finishes, long shots and even chipping the ball over the goalkeeper. Kaba does not appear afraid to pull the trigger.

Look at the technique and composure behind his goal against Aalborg in February 2021.

How will he fit into Lamouchi’s line-up?

The new City boss tends to deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation with fluid wing play and a striker who can find opportunities in the box.

This kind of set-up could see Callum Robinson, Isaak Davies and other forwards feature alongside Kaba, exploiting the space that the big man has created in the box.

Lamouchi will want to ensure that Kaba is provided with quality balls into the box – something that may favour players like Joe Ralls and Callum O’Dowda.

Kaba plays particularly well in transition and City’s technical attackers should reap the rewards of his chaos. In this way, Kaba’s goalscoring returns do not matter as much as the team’s.