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The transfer deadline day turned out to be quite an eventful one for Premier League club Swansea City, as we saw a number of big moves happen at the Liberty Stadium.
The Welsh club sold star striker and last season’s top-scorer Fernando Llorente to heavyweights Tottenham Hotspur for a fee reported to be close to £15million. They also managed to pull off one of the biggest transfer coups of the summer, by bringing in Portuguese sensation Renato Sanches from Bayern Munich on loan for a season.
Amidst the furore of signing the 20-year old midfielder, another significant transfer went somewhat under the radar and that was the return of striker Wilfried Bony to the Liberty Stadium, from Manchester City for £12million.
Last season, when Swansea came so very close to getting relegated, it was Llorente’s goals that played a major role in the Welsh side being able to avoid the drop. In a single season in Wales, after having moved from Sevilla last summer, the 32-year old had established himself as a key player, netting 15 times in 35 outings. So, losing him would have a great effect on Paul Clement’s side coming into the season.
They might have brought in Tammy Abraham on loan from Chelsea, but the youngster would not have been able to completely fill the void that Llorente has left behind. So, bringing in another centre-forward in the shape of Bony made total sense for the club.
This will be the Ivory Coast international’s second spell at the club, after he enjoyed a particularly fruitful tenure a few years earlier. Bony had signed for the Swans from Dutch club Vitesse in 2013 and had a successful eighteen months, scoring 35 times and assisting 9 more in 70 games, before the Citizens came calling in January 2015.
Having completed the move, Bony struggled to replicate the same form at the Etihad and managed just 11 goals in 46 games in a season and a half. Last term, he was loaned out to Stoke City, where he struggled to impress again, as he finished with just a couple of goals in only 11 appearances, with the Potters’ boss Mark Hughes never really trusting the 28-year old.
True, ever since he left the Liberty Stadium a couple of years ago, the Ivory Coast international has seen his form hit a sharp downslide. Goals haven’t come as regularly as they did for him during his tenure with the Swans. But, that doesn’t mean he has grown into a bad striker overnight. The style of play and the game-time afforded at the Etihad under Manuel Pellegrini did not help, while Hughes never really gave him a fair shot at Stoke last season.
Bony, in many ways, is similar to Llorente in the way he operates. Both are extremely strong in the air, have the knack of playing on the shoulders of the defenders and the Ivorian also possesses a deceptive turn of pace for someone of his stature – all of which the Swansea fans will have seen in plenty in the past.
At this point in time, it seems like Bony’s confidence has taken a hit and a return to his old stomping ground, where the fans adore him and back him to the hilt, should help him get his mojo back. At 28, he is in his peak years and if Clement manages to get him firing on all cylinders again, there are no doubts that the former Manchester City man will not let the absence of Llorente be felt in and around at the Liberty Stadium in the coming seasons.