Striking difference at opposite ends of the Premier League table

Wilfried Bony

The biggest deal of the transfer window, going into the third week of January, took Wilfried Bony from Swansea to Manchester City but another deal in the same week gave a perfect illustration of the contrast between what works in the top flight and what does not; Sunderland getting Jermaine Defoe and, as part of the deal, Toronto FC getting Jozy Altidore.

Manchester City cleverly got round the FFP rules, not to mention the player’s reported £200k per week demands, with a basic weekly salary of £100k plus £20k per game played. The money men at City obviously feel in signing the Premier League’s top scorer in 2014, with 20 goals, they are getting a good deal and there are few in football who would disagree.

Bony is a pure goal scorer in the mould of Didier Drogba. Single minded and powerful with the single ambition to score every time he can. What makes Bony stand out is his ability to fit into a team pattern of play but if that isn’t working he becomes a one-man crusade to make a difference by hitting the net. And with a career total of 93 in 153 league games he is most definitely in the top strike category with better than a goal every other game.

I bet City fans are bemoaning the fact that they may not see their latest signing until well after what is almost certainly the title decider at Stamford Bridge on January 31st. However another massive advantage Bony will give Manuel Pellegrini, is that however the latter utilises Bony; with Sergio Agüero, without Agüero or instead of the Argentine, he will be a plus when compared to Džeko and Jovetić who, decent strikers though they are, do not frighten defenders like Agüero and Bony do.

Sunderland fans have already had a glimpse of Jermaine Defoe and although the striker ended his run of debut goals, at Tottenham, he has a pedigree that may just help the Black Cats avoid relegation. Like Bony, Defoe can also fit into team play but has also proven down the years that he can take a game by the scruff of the neck. Something very few Sunderland strikers have done in years. His brief sojourn in the MLS did not harm his career goal tally one iota. Eleven goals in 16 games is pretty decent for a player who, at the time of writing, sits 14th in the all time Premier League scoring charts. Like Bony, Defoe is in the goal every other game category occupied by the very best, 164 in 318 games.

Then we get to Jozy Altidore. To say Sunderland fans did not see the best of the player is an understatement. He never really got going in the Premier League as just one goal in 21 Premier League appearances would underline. His career stats show a total of 42 in 104 games and his record for the USA national team is a respectable 25 in 76 appearances.

On stats alone Manchester City and Sunderland get the best deal. It remains to be seen if Altidore can restart his career and his confidence in the less taxing environs of the MLS.

By
Longest serving freelance football reporter for Sky Sports, 1,000+ games. Author of Breedon Book of Premiership Records and Three Lions.
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