Wilfried Bony has long been linked with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and even Everton. But finally, after too many transfer stories, the Ivorian striker moved to Laudrup’s Swansea, for a reported fee of 12M euros, that could rise to 15M euros in bonuses.
A lot of people have questioned this move. Was he never good enough for the top teams? Is he another overrated, overhyped player coming from the Eredivisie, where strikers score for fun?
Chelsea had genuine interest, and a first option with Vitesse, but decided to keep Lukaku this season, so they were never going to buy Wilfried Bony. As for Arsenal, they are looking for high profile names this summer, even though, in my opinion, they’ll regret not looking further into Bony come the end of next season.
As for Liverpool, I still don’t fully understand why they haven’t moved for Wilfried Bony. He would’ve fit in perfectly for them, even with Luis Suarez staying. It’s not a surprise that the club with a very similar style to Liverpool’s have finally bought Wilfried Bony.
For the second question, my answer is simple: no. Wilfried Bony is an excellent player. For example, the 2011/2012 Eredivisie top scorer, Bas Dost, had scored 33 goals in 34 games for Heerenveen, but from the very start, it was clear he was never going to become a top class player. With Wilfried Bony, it’s different.
The ex-Vitesse player has multiple qualities. He’s a very strong player, with excellent ball control, and a clinical finish. His shot, both in movement or from a standstill position, is incredibly powerful. Some of his new Swansea teammates have already talked about those qualities in various interviews.
Now, the logical question is, will he fit into Swansea’s playing style? Swansea have a very direct style of play, trying to keep the ball on the ground, passing and moving quickly. If you just think about it like that, you’d imagine he won’t be the best fit. But you’d be wrong.
Playing upfront, Wilfried Bony will be able to be used as a target man by Swansea’s midfield. He’s able to win a ball, in the air or on the ground, thanks to his great strength. Not only that, but Bony – aka “Daddy Cool” – is a smart player.
He’s able to play a well-weighted pass if needed, which allows his overlapping teammates to get into good situations. He doesn’t mind dropping a bit lower down the field to get hold of the ball, which will allow the other players to roam around the pitch.
Obviously, on set pieces, he’ll be a great danger, given the quality of his headers.
Wilfried Bony can score from different positions, with his head or his feet, and he’s also able to assist his teammates. His strength will offer Swansea different options to play the ball, and to be less predictable.
If you take a look at the highlights of Swansea’s pre-season games where he’s played in, you’ll immediately understand what I’m talking about. He’s already delivered a couple of assists, purely by winning the ball with his strength, keeping it close to his feet and playing the right pass at the right moment. I think we’ll see that sequence of play in various occasions throughout the season.
Finally, is he worth his price? Did they overpay?
Let’s be honest, 12M-15M euros isn’t that much in the actual transfer market. It’s not a bargain, because it’s a considerable investment, but I think Wilfried Bony is easily worth this price. I think Swansea paid a fair price for him, and Vitesse will be happy with the fee they’ve received. Now it’s up to Wilfried Bony to justify the price tag.
My prediction for this season is that Wilfried Bony, if given enough game time and injury-free, will grab at least 15 Premier League goals. Keep a watchful eye on him.
Written by Yannick Bloem
Follow Yannick on Twitter @ybthebest
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