Sources close to Manchester City have revealed that they are in advance discussions with Swansea about signing striker Wilfried Bony for an undisclosed fee. The move is being made by manager Manuel Pellegrini early on in the window to ensure that he gets the man he sees as the answer to his striking issues. Aside from Argentine Sergio Aguero who was in blistering form before succumbing to injury early last month, Manchester City’s strikers have failed to score on a regular basis which has heap further pressure on the teams midfielders like Frank Lampard and David Silva to deliver instead. Indeed the need for goals is so great that City have had to extend Lampard’s loan move from New York City FC to the end of the current season, much to the annoyance of the US club. Despite Aguero returning to light training recently after his knee injury, Pellegrini feels that he needs another option upfront to take the pressure off of his star striker. Bony himself has been in fine form this season and will offer the City a different option either from the bench or alongside Aguero in a new look formation.
Bony arrived at Swansea in the summer of 2013 from Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem for a club record £12 million. The pacy Ivorian frontman wasted little time in repaying Swansea investment by firing 25 goals in his first season ensuring Swansea remained in the Premiership. He has scored 9 times so far this season as Swansea look towards a top half finish. The 26 year old has become a vital part of manager Gary Monk’s team who is unwilling to let him leave unless it is for an astronomical fee. Swansea cleverly renewed Bony’s contract in November, extending it by one year on slightly increased wages but it was removal of the minimum release fee of £20 million that should hand them a bumper pay out. That fee, believed to be in the range of £30 million limits potential suitors to only a handful but City are one of them as they have the financial clout to make the deal happen. With others interested including Arsenal, Tottenham and an unknown German side, City has moved quickly to seal the deal. However they may have to wait until the end of January to get their man as the player has now jetted off to join up with the Ivory Coast national squad preparing for this year’s African Cup Of Nations.
So if City does land him, is he really the player they need? Former Wales international Jason Roberts is one of a growing list of admirers of Bony. He believes that despite his size (5ft 9in), he has all the attributes that any club would want in a striker. He is powerful with a good first touch, a deft eye for goal and has the ability to hold the ball up well which draws other players in as well. Whilst he doesn’t believe that Swansea should cash in on Bony now, he does feel that they should sell him on whilst his value is high. Swansea learned the hard way last season when they failed to sell Spanish striker Michu whilst is stock was high and several clubs were interested. Now the player is likely to be sold to Napoli, where he is currently on loan for a fee just slightly above what Swansea paid for him in the first place. Selling Bony now will ensure that the club receives the best price and give them the capital needed to replace him adequately.
However it is a major tactical risk by Monk who if unable to find a suitable replacement in the January transfer window could find himself facing up to four difficult months before the season ends. Swansea are sitting comfortably in mid table but on only 29 points which is not quite enough to ensure their safety. With Bony now away on international duty, Swansea will get a taste of life without him during the next few weeks. This could be a deciding moment in the managerial career of Gary Monk and his ability to craft results without his star player. Its sink or swim time for Monk who must decide to either persuade Bony to stay until the end of the season or let him leave now for pastures new to ensure he gets that astronomical fee he was looking for.