As Cardiff City's 2023/24 campaign draws nearer to its conclusion, thoughts naturally turn towards next season and how the Bluebirds build on what has been a broadly positive 12 months.

The club have made great strides this season in planning longer term, tying a number of players down to new contracts as they look ahead to what's next. Unfortunately, the same forethought has not gone into the coaching and management side of things, with boss Erol Bulut and his coaching staff still in the dark over their own futures.

While that dominates conversation among City supporters, the make-up of the squad next year is equally as important as the person tasked with leading it. Sign up to our Cardiff City newsletter here.

We don't yet know what sort of budget Cardiff will be working with this summer, but as evidenced by the last few years, they are unlikely to throw millions of pounds worth of cash at the problem.

That being said, a number of players already on the books will feel like new signings next season. How much of a part they play could be determined on how well they do in pre-season, but nevertheless a handful of players will feel like new additions. Let's take a look...

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Isaak Davies

It seems rather odd thinking that Isaak Davies, a player who has been at the club since the age of eight and has 43 Bluebirds appearances to his name, could be branded a "new signing", but that is exactly what it will feel like.

Davies will come back to Cardiff a totally different player to the one who left last summer. Having spent a season on loan at KV Kortrijk, the Welsh striker has netted nine goals for the Belgian top-tier side, his most prolific campaign to date.

The 22-year-old needed a year away from Cardiff, a season in which he was the main striker and found confidence in front of goal. Indeed he has enjoyed that with Cardiff's sister club in Belgium.

He has scored more than any Bluebirds striker this season and looks likely to play a chunky part for his parent club next season. He offers something completely different to the quite frankly poor striker stable Cardiff currently find themselves with.

Callum O'Dowda

The Republic of Ireland international has been a seismic loss for Cardiff this year. With just 10 appearances to his name, starting only five times, this season has been a total washout for the winger – that dramatic winger against Ipswich aside, of course.

He was one of Cardiff's most consistent players during his debut campaign in the Welsh capital, playing left-back, wing-back and high up on that left-hand side, too, and was one of the first names on the team sheet for many.

His link-up play with Karlan Grant in pre-season was really exciting and that could have been a fruitful pairing this season, alas his injuries wrecked the chance of that flourishing partnership down that flank this term. It feels like a real opportunity missed.

Cardiff will be grateful to welcome him back into the fold next season, with his current campaign over according to Bulut, and they will hope he can hit the levels he did in his first year with the club once again.

Aaron Ramsey

An obvious one, of course, but similarly to O'Dowda, Ramsey has been a massive miss this season.

Given his injury record, many did not expect the Wales captain to play a part throughout the whole campaign, but the club would have expected to get more than 13 games out of him.

Cardiff's season went off the rails during his five-month lay-off right in the middle of the campaign. His early-season class helped coax in an aesthetically-pleasing style of play, however his absence then preceded the style of football gradually declining.

That's not all down to his injury, of course, and it would be foolish to build a style of play around someone who is so unfortunate with his injuries, but Cardiff would have expected a greater return given the outlay. They will need more from him next year, no question.

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Ryotaro Tsunoda

A signing which flew under the radar in January, largely because he was never bound to play for Cardiff and was earmarked immediately for a loan stint with Kortrijk.

Quickly, though, the Japanese defender was singled out for his outstanding performances in the Pro League and his stats metrics really caught the eye, too. His ability on the ball was a particular highlight for supporters who want to see Cardiff develop their style of play next season.

Still just 24, the centre-back is Kortrijk's second-highest rated player, according to WhoScored, and could be an unexpected find for the Bluebirds. He has, however, been out injured for this back portion of the season, after being taken off on a stretcher against Anderlecht last month.

However, his team-mate out in Kortrijk, Davies, told WalesOnline just what fans could expect from him, saying: "He has been brilliant. He is versatile. I have been speaking to him quite a bit because he has that quality to play the reverse passes in behind. We have a good connection, make a bit of eye contact and he's looking for the pass forward. He is really good on the ball and isn't afraid of a challenge! He is a good player.

"He is still learning to speak English, so I'm trying to help him with that. He is looking forward to it and he is happy to have signed (for Cardiff). He is a brilliant player. He looks forward constantly and can put that pass in to break defences, which sometimes you don't get from a defender."

Joel Bagan

It feels like a significant moment in time for Joel Bagan.

Cardiff tied him down to a new deal at the beginning, which will see the left-back stay with the club until June 2026. Like Davies, Bagan needed a year of just playing solid football. The talent has rarely been questioned, but the consistency needed to be there and he needed to iron out some frailties in his game.

By and large, he has done a decent job in Belgium, albeit in the second tier. Although recently he fell out of favour and struggled for game towards the end of the campaign, but it's all part of the ebb and flow of a football season.

Left-back is an area about which Cardiff must think carefully this summer, with O'Dowda's fitness and preferred position also a factor. But you'd think there is a place for Bagan, given the club committed two more years to him. It will be interesting to see if he sticks his hand up in pre-season and to see the progress he has made while away from the club.

Eli King

A player who has quietly been getting regular first-team experience in a variety of leagues. Eli King has enjoyed spells at Crewe, Morecambe and Ross County and it is no surprise he has been a starter for each of them over the last two seasons.

Like Bagan, the central midfielder, 21, was tied down to a contract until 2026, with the club viewing him as someone who can now step into the first team and make an impact.

That is what needs to happen next season. The likes of Romaine Sawyers, Andy Rinomhota and perhaps Ebou Adams could all leave and it allows Cardiff to have a cut-price option in midfield without sacrificing any of the quality.

The Wales youth international is composed on the ball, is physical and contributes at both ends of the pitch. Expect him to be involved next term.