After narrowly avoiding relegation last season, Paul Clement is determined that Swansea City will enjoy the coming 2017/18 campaign a lot more. With Chelsea reportedly still interested in 32-year-old Spaniard Fernando Llorente, the Swans boss is looking to bring a former hero back to the Valleys.
Wilfried Bony left Swansea in January 2015, moving to the Etihad in a £25m deal. At that stage, the Ivory Coast international had netted 9 goals in 20 Premier League appearances that season. He wouldn’t reach that total with Manchester City and Stoke City in a combined 46 league matches since.
It’s been an unmitigated disaster for the striker, putting the handbrake on his international career as well.
Goals were an issue for Swansea last season, netting just 45 goals in the Premier League. They only recorded more than one goal in 11 games, and while defensively poor for the majority of the season, more damaging was the absence of a double-digit goalscorer behind Llorente’s tally of 15. The Spaniard and Gylfi Sigurdsson managed 24 goals between them; the rest of the Swansea squad, just 21.
Bony needs to reignite his career. Just as he was building himself into the City squad, Pep Guardiola’s arrival put up a brick wall. Heavily linked with a move to China last winter, he moved instead to Stoke City on loan, where he managed just two goals in ten appearances.
Guardiola’s reputation for ruthlessness is well-founded; ask Joe Hart and Samir Nasri. Bony is on the same track and needs an escape route fast.