By Matthew Biggin @MatthewBiggin @TLE_Sport
So despite saying they’d sign no players in the January window Manchester City have made probably the biggest signing of the transfer window. Manuel Pellegrini paid Swansea City £28 million for coveted striker Wilfried Bony to strengthen his forward line, and I for one think it’s a shame.
I should make it clear that I rate Bony highly. I think he’d do a great job up top for any side. He’s been instrumental in Swansea’s consistent presence as a Premier League outfit, he’s a proven goalscorer at the top level, and he has had a wealth of suitors chasing his signature for the past year.
It’s just a shame he went to City. This is no slight on the Mancunian side. I happen to be oddly fond of them, in spite of my own allegiance. I just worry that Bony may have made the wrong move, and in doing so may have ruined his career in the process.
I understand from the player’s perspective, I really do. He’s played well at Swansea but now feels that he’d like to ply his trade at a bigger club. He wants to compete for silverware, play in Europe and be handsomely paid for the trouble. And that’s fine. That’s his prerogative. But I have to wonder where even a player of Bony’s quality is going to fit into this City team.
Traditionally City play a two man centre midfield with Aguero up front on his own. He is then flanked by a three-pronged attack that can be made up of any selection of Silva, Nasri, Navas, Milner, Toure and Frank Lampard. And I struggle to see how this system will accommodate Bony. Aguero, for his part, is undroppable. When fit and available he is world class and arguably among the top 5 strikers in world football. Then you have Jovetic and Dzeko in the pecking order too.
City could always play a two-man attack, with Aguero and Bony, or a three man rotating front line, a system Liverpool utilised to such great effect last season. The trouble with this though is that you would then have to move somebody out of midfield. And I think City’s midfield is just too strong and important as a unit to justify dropping any one of the five players.
It is more probable that Bony will be a bench player, utilised as an impact sub and filling in for Aguero in the event of injury. Of course, many players would be lucky to get on the bench at City; such is the strength of their squad. But we must understand that Bony has gone from being a mainstay at Swansea, where he provided the fulcrum of their attack, and was the man around whom the team was built. He is now at a club where he’s no longer top dog and that is something to which he will need to adapt – an exercise that greater men than he have failed at in the past.
Bony could end up being a roaring success at Eastlands. Or he could be another Benjani. With playing time he will score goals, that is a proven fact. But the amount of playing time he will get at The Etihad remains to be seen.
Matthew is a freelance writer, journalist and blogger. Visit www.matthewbiggin.com for more information.