Wilfried Bony has yet been able to revive his career at Swansea City, after falling into a state of decline since his departure from the Liberty Stadium in 2015.
The Ivorian was one of the most prolific strikers in Europe during his spells at Sparta Prague and Vitesse Arnhem. Bony scored a total of 30 goals in 77 appearances in the Czech capital and 53 goals in 73 appearances in the Netherlands.
Swansea City spent a Welsh transfer record of £12 million to lure the Ivorian to the Liberty Stadium in 2013, after eying him as a potential replacement for former talisman Michu. He made an instantaneous impact during his debut season, scoring 23 goals in 48 appearances, and placed rivalled clubs on high alert.
Eventually, Bony was unable to avoid temptation. In January 2015, he became the most expensive African player in history when he joined Manchester City for a fee of £28 million. This marked the beginning of his decline, although it wasn’t clear at the time, and he’s been unable to return to his prolific self ever since.
Bony announced his official departure from Manchester City during the 2017 Summer Transfer Window. He’d been out of favour from the moment he arrived at the Etihad Stadium, and found himself in a similar situation that Roque Santa Cruz, Stefan Jovetic, Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell had found themselves in.
His departure was inevitable but he attempted to salvage some confidence during the 2016/17 season with a season-long loan move to Stoke City. It had the adverse effect and he finished the campaign with just two goals in 11 appearances in all competitions, after being omitted from the squad by manager Mark Hughes.
He returned to his first home in England at the beginning of the season, but his season has been marred by injuries and his performances have been underwhelming. Bony has also had to settle for a place on the bench on a regular basis this season, due to Jordan Ayew and Tammy Abraham being ahead of him in the pecking order.
The 29-year-old offered glimpses of promise in early December with goals against his former club Stoke City and also West Bromwich Albion. Unfortunately, he was unable to maintain his goal scoring form, and the return of Andre Ayew was set to further reduce his playing opportunities.
Bony’s season ended in tragic circumstances when he was ruled out for the remainder of the season along with teammate Leroy Fer. He sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury in a draw against Leicester City on 3 February,
He’d only missed five games through injury before January 2015, compared to 32 games since his move to Manchester City. It’s yet been confirmed whether he’ll return to full fitness to represent Ivory Coast at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
His dream move to a high-profile club failed to propel him to greatness, but hopefully Bony can rescue his career during the second season of his return to Swansea City. It’s very similar to the case of Christian Benteke, who’s also failed to return to his former self, but he’ll need to improve remarkably on his return from injury before it’s too late!