Bulut's Cardiff future nearing crunch time

Crunch time is looming for manager Erol Bulut and Cardiff City.

Despite the absence of public statements, talks have continued between the club and the man who guided them to 12th position in the Championship last season.

At the end of April, BBC Sport Wales revealed owner Vincent Tan had belatedly sanctioned talks on extending Bulut's deal with the Bluebirds.

The German-born former Turkey Under-21 international has returned to his home in Istanbul to mull over his options.

It seems the length of a new deal was an initial difficulty, with Tan seemingly offering Bulut only a one-year option.

Bulut feels he deserves more - having lifted the club after two seasons of fighting relegation - and needs longer to continue the progress he made in the past season.

"I've been a guest, I want to be part of Cardiff family," was the way he put it.

It's also believed Bulut, should he stay, is keen to beef up his coaching staff and would understandably want assurances on financial support from the owner in this summer's transfer window.

Cardiff were limited with financial restrictions in last January's window, having previously been condemned to recruiting only free agents and loan transfers due to an English Football League (EFL) embargo.

With more scope in the market this summer, Bulut is keen to mould the squad unhindered.

That might even mean removing established players, both to raise more funds and to shape his pool of players as he wants.

It has been a frustrating time for Cardiff fans who, despite reservations among some over the style of football they saw last season, have indicated they want Bulut to stay. But the wait goes on.

Bulut had said he hoped for a "positive outcome" to talks over his future at Cardiff.

But the Bluebirds faithful will be understandably frustrated and more than a little concerned over the time which has elapsed since Tan gave a green light on talks.

With a decent pedigree as a manager, it would be no surprise if Bulut had been the subject of attention from other clubs.

He has been linked with Greek giants Panathinaikos. Sections of the Turkish press have touted him for a role at Besiktas, who sacked former Portugal boss Fernando Santos in early April and now have an interim head coach until the end of the Super Lig season.

Some matters have to continue despite Cardiff currently having no manager.

Fortunately, the retained list - which has to be submitted to the EFL this weekend - does not appear to be of massive importance.

Former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Romaine Sawyers is one out of contract. He is valued around the club, but made just six appearances this season, including only two substitute outings in the Championship.

Goalkeeper Rohan Luthra's contract also expires this summer. The 21-year-old had a loan spell at Slough last term, with Matthew Turner the regular bench support for Ethan Horvath during Jak Alnwick's time out with injury in the second half of the campaign.

Tan, as ever under his reign, will have the final say on what is the club's final offer to Bulut. But then it is up to the man who is the centre of attention.

Will Bulut settle to continue the work he has started with the Bluebirds?

Or will he take his chance elsewhere and leave Cardiff seeking their seventh boss in a little over three years?

For the sake of the club and the fans it is a saga which must end soon.