Manchester City signing Wilfried Bony was not exactly out of the blue but did come as a bit of a surprise. Not that Bony is not an excellent striker. He was the Premier League’s top goal scorer during 2014 and has consistently proven that he is a very good footballer – even when he seemed out of favour before Garry Monk took over at Swansea and turned the Ivorian into a talisman for the Welsh side.
But Manchester City are linked with the very best from all over the World as they battle at the head of the Premier League markets. No-one really expects Lionel Messi to turn out in the sky blue but if he were to go anywhere else apart from Barcelona then City would be on a very short shortlist. Clubs whose main aim each season is to win the Champions League do not generally buy their strikers from mid table Premier teams.
Where Does He Fit In?
Manuel Pellegrini has said that Bony has joined to compete and complement the three other strikers at City – Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic. Looking at those three it is understandable that people may think that Bony should get used to sitting on the bench. But is that fair? Aguero is repeatedly troubled with injuries and although after the departure of Negredo, Dzeko seems to be more in favour, he does not seem to be the ‘go to’ back up to the Argentinean. Jovetic, for all his immense skill and trickery, does not lead the line like Bony undoubtedly would.
But even if Bony is seen by Pellegrini as the striker to replace Aguero, City – with the wealth of talent at their disposal – are easily able to play without an out and out forward in the traditional sense and still be successful. David Silva, Frank Lampard and Samir Nasri are all such attacking threats that it is arguable that anyone in front of the City midfielder will be able to score – if they are even needed.
The other less charitable suggestion is that Bony has been bought purely so no-one else can have him. This was an accusation that was first really levelled at Chelsea in the early days of the Abramovich era. Top players – especially ones already playing in England – were tempted to Stamford Bridge by massive contracts and never really played before being shipped out quietly a couple of years later. Liverpool had been linked with Bony before City took over and it isn’t unfair to say that more people would have expected a player like him to go to a club like Liverpool rather than City.
This argument is unfair on City but more so on Bony himself. His strong style of play could bring a different element to the attack and Pellegrini could be looking at him to add extra steel up front to complement the silkiness of the midfielders behind him.
Manuel Pellegrini may not be looking at Bony to replace Aguero or even compete with the Argentinean for the primary striker spot but looking at what lies before City for the rest of the season the former Swansea man could play a vital role in pushing Chelsea for the title and giving Barcelona’s (comparatively) beleaguered defence something different to think about in the upcoming round of 16 Champions League tie.
Premier League fans generally dismiss the fact that a striker has scored prolifically in the Dutch Eredivisie as no indicator of being a good player. But Bony’s form and goal record since joining Swansea has been exceptional. Just because a player is bought from a relatively unfashionable British club does not mean that he is not a star.