Championship

Transfers that shook the club: Wilfried Bony and Swansea

In our Transfers that shook the club feature, Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at deals that many may not have seen coming and the impact that they had during their time by using statistical data and pundit remarks.

Andre Ayew has been a decent source of goals for Swansea in the early weeks of the season, with the Ghanaian scoring three in his first nine games, and the Liberty Stadium faithful have some previous in seeing African forwards thriving at the club.

The Swans set a Welsh record transfer fee in July 2013 when they spent £12m on Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony from Vitesse Arnhem, as per BBC. The transfer was briefly in doubt due to a delay in getting his work permit secured, but that obstacle was cleared later in the month and Michael Laudrup had added a potent weapon to Swansea’s attacking armoury, with Bony being the previous season’s Eredivisie top scorer with 31 goals in 32 games.

He arrived in south Wales being trumpeted not just by his new manager, who described him as “good in the air” and a threat from set pieces, but also European football expert Andy Brassell, who said of Bony: “’Daddy Cool’ is not just an instinctive goalscorer, but has the all-round game to fit into Swansea’s possession-led style, and a prodigious work-rate to boot.” [via BBC]

The Ivorian had an excellent debut for the Swans, scoring twice in a 4-0 thrashing of Malmo in Europa League qualifying (the Swedish club made the Champions League group stage a year later, so they were no small fry). 

He also found the net on his Premier League debut, a 1-4 defeat to Manchester United, against whom he would exact revenge later in the season when scoring a stoppage-time winner in an FA Cup tie at Old Trafford.

With the previous year’s main scoring threat Michu (22 goals in 2012/13) netting just six times in the 2013/14 campaign, Bony ably filled the void with 25 goals for Swansea, including 17 in the Premier League. His European goal tally included one in a sensational 3-0 win away to Valencia in the Swans’ first Europa League group stage match, a campaign which saw them reach the knockout rounds before bowing out to Napoli.

To contextualise the impact that the Ivorian had in his first year at the Liberty Stadium, he scored the same number of league goals as Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero that season, with only three players netting more often in the Premier League in 2013/14. [via TransferMarkt]

His £12m fee was quickly made to look a bargain, especially in the context of Norwich paying a reported £8.5m (according to BBC) for Ricky van Wolfswinkel in the same summer, who managed one solitary league goal as the Canaries were relegated to the Championship.

Bony scored a further nine league goals in 20 games for Swansea the following season and ended 2014 with more Premier League goals (20) than any other player in that calendar year, as per BBC.

However, the Swans would not enjoy him for much longer as, in January 2015, he signed for Manchester City in a £28m deal, as per The Guardian.

Bony failed to make much of an impact at the Etihad Stadium, though, with just 11 goals in 46 appearances, while a loan spell at Stoke yielded two goals in 10 games – both of which came against Swansea.

Having already paid £12m for him once, Swansea did the same again in August 2017, with Bony opting to take the number 2 shirt to mark his second spell at the club, as per The Independent.

Not for the first time, he was on target against a former club, netting against Stoke in a 1-2 defeat in December 2017. When the teams produced the same result at the end of that season, they were united in the bitter disappointment of top-flight relegation, and Bony was unable to recreate the magic of his first spell at the Liberty Stadium after scoring just three times in 19 games in 2017/18.

He would score just once more for the club in last season’s Championship before being loaned out to Al-Arabi in Qatar in January and released by Swansea at the end of the season. He remained in Wales for a while, though, after hooking up with Newport County to train with the League Two outfit in his as-yet unfulfilled pursuit of a new club.

Bony turns 31 in December and his ailing fortunes of the last few years would suggest that his career has already had its peak, but the huge impact he had in his first spell at Swansea made the club’s £12m investment in 2013 a very wise one.

Swansea fans, what were your favourite memories of Bony at the club? Share your views in the comments section below!

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Transfers that shook the club: Wilfried Bony and Swansea
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