Arsenal’s search for a striker continues. The Gunners have been linked with plethora from across Europe; Benzema, Mandzukic, Jackson Martinez, Costa and Balotelli to mention just a few. These names excite except for the Italian maverick no thanks to his eccentric way of life but even his own still excite the fans. Like I said earlier, these names excite because they are marquee signings and getting them would require big money and that would force Arsenal to splash the cash. I am not against splashing the cash but for me, it is talent over price or name. Who was Suarez before Liverpool signed him, who was Falcao before Porto landed him from an obscure South American league? Juxtaposing the exploits of those few erstwhile unknown names to that of Torres and Shevchenko who arrived at Chelsea on the back of successful form and costing big money from Liverpool and AC Milan only to flop at Chelsea.
To this end, I want to throw up the candidacy of a little known talent Wilfred Bony. He plays for Swansea, in fact he was just signed last summer and before finally joining the Swans, Wenger was rumoured to have been interested in signing him. I don’t know why he didn’t eventually, probably the lure of having Suarez must have pulled wool over the Frenchman’s eyes. Anyway, he has an opportunity to right the wrong by making a concerted attempt to sign Bony this summer.
Why am I so excited at Bony? He has proven this season that he has the talent and hunger for the games and his stats aren’t bad after all. Last season, he had in all competitions for both country and club a total 28 goals and 6 assists in just a total of 43 starts and 12 sub appearances. The previous season was even better because he had 37 goals and no assists in just 32 starts and 3 subs. His critics could argue that he did all that in the Dutch league which is far inferior to the Premier League but need I remind the critics that Suarez and Van Nistelrooy came from that same ‘inferior’ league and became a terror in the Premier League.
The pros in the favour of signing him aren’t far-fetched. He would cost far-less than any of the aforementioned strikers. Swansea are reportedly asking for 20million Pounds but I believe a fee of 18million Pounds can convince the Swans to sell. He may even push for a transfer to the Emirates with the lure of Champions League football looming. Wenger just need to get into his head and that of his representatives. Other clubs do it to us and UEFA does nothing about it, why not us to other clubs as well?
He also already boasts of Premier League experience. The EPL isn’t so easy and many top strikers have already flopped in England, the most recent been Soldado and Lamela. Bony already understands the Premier League and should hit the ground running at Arsenal should a move sail through.
Tactically, he would also be able to adapt to Arsenal’s style. From Wenger’s body language, it seems he is looking for someone who can compete with Giroud as well as complement him. I believe he can do the latter with his pace and versatility. He can play on the wings with his pace, strength and skill, ditto as playing centrally owing to his physical strength. So also can he play as the second striker in a 4-4-2 formation.
I know Wenger has been promised a hefty transfer kitty but it would be foolhardy to spurn almost half of it on just one striker that could be a risk and heap undue pressure on the player. The question that can Bony deliver 30 goals could be raised but I believe he can at Arsenal. If he could score 16 EPL goals at Swansea where creativity is limited, how much more at Arsenal where are plethora of creative players who never grow weary in creating goal scoring opportunities for the striker. He is a better finisher than Giroud and if the Frenchman could score 16 league goals last season despite his obvious profligacy in front of goal, Bony would do better. He is also faster than the Frenchman which means Ozil would be happier playing with him.