Despite a number of big-name signings being made before the close of the summer transfer window, one that sneaked under the radar slightly, but with the potential to be a masterstroke, was Swansea’s purchase of Wilfried Bony.
The Ivory Coast international has made a name for himself a lethal marksman in the lesser European leagues, but his blend of pace, power and an eye for goal promises much at the Liberty Stadium.
Despite this, the African attacker is still settling into life in South Wales, but has started to hit his straps for Michael Laudrup’s men of late. His progression has been seriously halted by injury, as Bony was replaced just before half-time in his side’s 1-0 Europa League defeat to Valencia on Thursday night.
Bony’s European footballing education started in the Czech Republic, with Sparta Prague snapping the forward up from his homeland back in 2007. After a spell in the club’s reserve ranks, the powerful number nine forced his way into the senior side and from the 2009-10 campaign starting to find his aim.
After a league and cup double in that season, Bony started the next term in blistering form, scoring 17 goals in his first 24 games in all competitions, including in Europe.
An instant hit in Holland, the hitman started his time at Vitesse well and managed to score 12 goals in the remainder of his debut campaign at the club – finishing as the side’s top scorer despite only playing half a season in Holland.
However, last season Bony took things to the next level and started to make hitting the back of the net look frighteningly easy. His goals fired Vitesse to an excellent fourth-placed finish, their highest since 1998, and he was awarded the Dutch Footballer of the Year for the campaign.
An astounding 37 goals in 36 appearances in all competitions resulted in rave reviews from European scouts, and it was clear that Bony had outgrown Vitesse and the Eredivisie.
A £12 million fee made him Swansea’s most-expensive acquisition in the club’s history, with much expected of the African attacker.
Despite not setting the world on fire in his early days with the club and starting a number of games from the bench, Bony has started to hit the net on a relatively regular basis, continuing on from his hot streaks in Czech Republic and Holland.
A return of 10 goals in 18 appearances so far is a very respectable opening couple of months for the striker, who could well be just as lethal as attacking partner Michu was in his debut campaign in the Premier League.
Bony’s injury comes as a major inconvenience and will break up his building momentum as the fixtures come thick and fast over the festive period.
Swansea are starting to reap the rewards of their record transfer’s eye for goal, and the striker will be missed for the time he is on the sidelines.