By Stefan Coerts
When Vitesse rejected an offer from Aston Villa in the summer of 2012 to deny Wilfried Bony a move to the Premier League, the Cote d'Ivoire international was not amused. Bony was already desperate to make the next step in his career one year ago and he saw the Villans as the ideal opportunity to test himself in a stronger league than the Eredivisie.
Patience did prove to be a virtue in this case, though, as the powerful attacker would get his desired move to the English top flight after all after an impressive 2012-13 campaign in which he netted 31 goals in 30 league outings. After protracted negotiations between Swansea City and Vitesse, the Welsh outfit at last announced the capture of Bony on Thursday for a club-record fee of €14 million, plus potential add-ons.
|THE ONE AND BONY
|BONY'S 2012-13 STATS
IVORY COAST GAMES
IVORY COAST GOALS
Over the years, the Eredivisie has produced plenty of superstars but there have emerged a fair number of flops from the Dutch top flight as well. Ruud van Nistelrooy proved to be a superb signing for Manchester United, Mateja Kezman not so much for Chelsea. Dirk Kuyt did reasonably well for Liverpool, Afonso Alves not so much for Middlesbrough. Luis Suarez became a star for Liverpool but Bryan Ruiz is yet to really fire for Fulham.
And Bony? The former Sparta Prague striker certainly seems to have all the right attributes to become an instant hit in the Premier League.
Whereas Kezman was mainly a poacher who thrived inside the area, Alves was the archetypal one-season wonder and Ruiz has struggled with the physicality of the English game, Bony is a much more complete player than either of them.
His 46 goals in 65 league appearances are proof that he is an excellent finisher, capable of finding the net with both his preferred right foot and his left as well as his head. He is not just your regular target man, though. Bony also has the skill and vision to drop deep and create, which he showcased at Vitesse whenever he was used behind lone striker Jonathan Reis.
|20/1||Swansea City are 20/1 with bet365 to finish in the top six
His natural charisma made him a popular figure among team-mates and fans, even after publicly voicing his desire to leave the club on more than one occasion during the 2012-13 season, and the Vitesse fans will sorely miss the striker nicknamed 'Daddy Cool' - after the Boney M song – next term.
For Swansea, the capture of Bony is quite a coup and resembles yet another step in the right direction on their path to becoming a stable Premier League side. The Eredivisie top-scorer is unlikely to replicate his 31 league goals from last season but will be confident of finding the net on a regular basis at the Swans, thus taking some of the weight off the shoulders of last year's star man, Michu.
It might be over 37 years since 'Daddy Cool' made the UK charts but the Euro disco band could very well regain popularity in Swansea and its surroundings in the next few years - that is, if Bony can convince the Swans to play the tune over the PA system after each goal, to which he became accustomed at Vitesse.
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