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Scouting Wilfried Bony – Swansea City’s Primary Target

The Ivory Coast striker has burst onto the shopping list of some Premier League clubs after a few potent years in Holland with Vitesse Arnhem. The 24 year old has developed into one of the most clinical front-men in Europe with Vitesse, so it is no surprise to see a whole pack of clubs chasing the striker’s signature this summer.


Bony was born in the Ivory Coast in the city of Bingerville in 1988, going on to spend his childhood in the Malaysian city of Tebrau. He started playing a style of street football called “Maracana” too first pick up his love of the sport, before returning to his Bingerville to attend the Cyrille Domoroud football academy where he spent three years honing his skills.

It was with Ivorian club Issia Wazi where Bony started his professional career, breaking into the first-team as an 18 year old back in 2006. In his début season, he became the top-scorer in the Ivorian Ligue 1, picking up the interest of GFK Pro Football Management, an agency that works to earn promising African players trials in Europe. They managed to get Bony a trial with Liverpool though he failed to win a contract during his time in Merseyside.

Bony did get his move to Europe however, joining Czech Republic side Sparta Prague on loan in the summer of 2007. Initially playing for the reserve team in the Bohemian League, the third tier of Czech football, Bony only scored twice in 14 appearances but impressed the club’s management enough to be promoted into the first team. In his début season, he made 31 appearances from which he scored 9 goals to help Sparta on their way to a 35th Czech league title and a Czech Republic Football Super-cup In the following campaign, Bony made less appearances, just 14, but scored more goals, 10, also hitting another 7 in European competition to gain a move to the EreDivisie.

In the January of 2011, Bony signed for Vitesse Arnhem on a three and a half year deal which he marked by scoring on his début He finished his first half-season in Dutch football with 3 goals before truly making his impact over the next campaign, becoming the club’s highest goal-scorer with 18. It was the 2012/2013 season where Bony truly started to show his quality however, scoring 31 goals from a total of 31 games, including an incredible run of 15 goals in 10 consecutive games after returning from the African Cup of Nations. Overall, he boasts a phenomenal record of 52 goals from 71 games with Vitesse.

It is the Ivory Coast who Bony represents nationally after there was a prospect of the Czech Republic calling him into the team during his time with Sparta. The Africans were desperate not to lose their man however and named him in their African Cup of Nations qualifying squad, which Bony answered by choosing the country of his birth. Currently, the striker sits on 20 caps with 8 goals to his name.

Strengths, Style and Weaknesses

You can tell from his goal record that Bony’s game is about clinical finishing and there are not many strikers with more composure or assuredness in front of goal. He can convert any type of chance, with his head, finishing off a dribbling move he has created himself, or beating the goalkeeper in a one-on-one after beating the offside trap with intelligent movement, Bony can do it all in-front of goal.

There are not many defenders who can compete with the 6ft striker in the air, possessing a huge leap, he can project himself up to reach crosses, generating superb power with his headers due to strong neck muscles. It is a jumping action similar to Cristiano Ronaldo and it allows Bony to have the beating of his man when he is targeted with a high ball.

It is sheer strength that provides Bony with his most significant asset however, able to shrug of defenders and burst into the box with force, defenders struggle to deal with him and he often requires close marking, which allows him to be effective in opening up space for his wide players to move into. This made him a great asset in leading the line in Vitesse’s 4-3-3 with Marco Van Ginkel and Renato Ibarra playing to the side of his target-man role.

It is probably best to look at players in the mould of Didier Drogba and Romelu Lakaku to see what Bony is all about, possessing brute force mixed in with a great deal of technical skill and close dribbling skills to make him a nightmare for defenders. He uses his impressive physicality and intelligent play to hold the ball up for others, showing he can mix flair with his robust style. He can score goals from anywhere including outside of the box and was incredibly instrumental in earning Europa League qualification for Vitesse last season with a fourth placed finish.

Transfer Situation

Many clubs have been alerted to Bony because of his fantastic scoring record and the chasing pack includes Swansea and Newcastle from the Premier League. It is believed Newcastle see Bony as a great replacement for Demba Ba and owner Mike Ashley has pledged to personally ratify the deal, though they face competition from Swansea who have reportedly lodged a £10 million bid. Russian club Anzhi and Portuguese side Benfica are also thought to be admirers of the striker but it is understood the player wants a move to the Premier League.

The deal will be helped a long by Bony’s apparent desire to leave the club with the player quoted as saying

“Next summer I am gone. This is my moment. But it is difficult if you play for a club like Vitesse. For me, it was also about money, but that was not the most important thing, it was about respect. And I don’t think Vitesse showed it.”

Newcastle have made it clear that they do not want to be involved in a bidding war for the striker, though £10 million is a bargain of a price for Vitesse to start the bidding at given his goals return. There will be a concern that Bony may be a replication of Afonso Alves who flopped in England after arriving with a superb goal record in the Dutch Leagues, but there should be no doubt that Bony possesses the brute strength, intelligence, skill and talent to be a success in any league.