If they are to pip Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea to the Premier League title, the powers that be at Manchester City know they’ll have to draft in some extra firepower.
While Diego Costa is firing on all cylinders for the league leaders, City’s strikers have struggled with injuries and form, prompting the club to dip into the transfer market.
Swansea City’s Wilfried Bony is the man the club have landed on, with a fee of around £28million being agreed.
There have already been many questions asked of the lofty price, but such a proven Premier League goalscorer was always going to cost a pretty penny.
The Ivorian boasted a goals-to-games ratio of 0.73 from his time in the Netherlands with Vitesse Arnhem, but the relative weakness of the Eredivisie means one always has to take such a record with a pinch of salt.
The thing that stands out, however, is that Bony’s netted 34 times in 70 games in the much tougher English game, an incredible record for a striker at a mid-table club.
These goalscoring figures will have gone a long way to convincing the club he can fill the Alvaro Negredo-shaped hole in City’s attack, which may be broadened if Stevan Jovetic’s mooted Juventus move comes off.
One knock on the deal has been that Bony will be unavailable for at least the next three weeks, and possibly longer depending on the Ivory Coast’s progress in the Africa Cup of Nations.
This has likely contributed to City’s reported reluctance to release Jovetic too early in the transfer window, but with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko returning to fitness City should survive until Bony’s arrival.
Once he is back and playing in front of one of the best midfields in the country, the 26-year-old shouldn’t find goals hard to come by if given adequate playing time.
It is not just his eye for goal which has enticed the Premier League champions to spend big on foreign talent once again, however.
Equally adept at bullying his way past a defence and slipping through unnoticed, Bony can not only unleash a rocket of a shot but also display a wonderful deftness of touch.
His off-ball intelligence and awareness around him make him a constant danger, lurking in and around the 18-yard box.
Meanwhile, his link-up play should fit perfectly ahead an intricate City midfield featuring David Silva, Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure.
These attributes were on clear display against City in his side’s 3-2 defeat at the Liberty Stadium on New Year’s Day last season, one of his finest displays in a Swansea shirt.
As well as scoring a superb brace, Bony displayed why his reputation as an all-round centre forward has now spread across the Welsh border.
With Dzeko’s goals having dried up this season, the thought of a partnership developing between Bony and the nimble, lethal Sergio Aguero is a mouth-watering proposition for City fans.
He comes with a warning label, however. At Swansea he occasionally had off-colour days when he could seem disinterested and fail to make a lasting impact on the game.
Faced with a higher calibre of competition up front for City, he’ll need to hit the ground running and maintain his form to hold on to a starting spot.
A further attraction for Manchester City is that in a season and a half with Swansea, Bony has missed just five league games, an invaluable asset given City’s recent injury record.
His arrival will also mean that City will be able to boast four of 2014’s top five Premier League goalscorers, with Bony ahead of Aguero, Toure, Dzeko and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.
In a chase for the Premier League title which could come down to the finest of margins in defence and attack, the reigning champions could have just acquired a key advantage.
It’s true, big money moves can make or break a player, and at first Bony may struggle no longer being the centre of attention as he was in south Wales.
However, he should benefit hugely from being involved at a club of City’s calibre and if he can get off to a good start there is no reason why the new signing can’t be a resounding success.
Image and video inset courtesy of Sky Sports via YouTube, with thanks.