Quiz question: which player has scored the most Premier League goals in 2014? If you answered with Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney or Daniel Sturridge you’re incorrect. It’s not Luis Suarez or Diego Costa, either.
The answer - and it may come as a slight surprise - is Wilfried Bony, Swansea City’s prolific striker who netted his 20th Premier League goal of 2014 during Sunday afternoon’s 2-1 defeat to Tottenham.
Bony is proving that he’s no flash in the pan - much unlike his teammate Michu, who scored 18 league goals in his debut campaign at the Liberty Stadium before struggling badly in his second Premier League campaign.
Bony: No flash in the pan
The Ivory Coast international scored 16 goals in England’s top division last season, but looks set to smash that tally this term: after 12 matches he’s already scored seven times and looks a real goal threat each time he takes to the pitch.
Swansea paid Dutch outfit Vitesse the relatively modest fee of £12 million for Bony, who was on the radar of most of Europe’s top clubs prior to his move to England after scoring 37 goals from 36 matches in his final campaign in the Eredivisie.
Bony: The new Drogba?
Thanks to the fact he is Ivorian, blessed with immense strength, good pace, superb headily ability and a lethal eye for goal, it was understandable that the inevitable Didier Drogba comparisons were being made in the months prior to his Swansea City transfer.
But scoring goals on a regular basis in the Eredivisie is not always a true indication of talent. Plenty of clubs have had their fingers burnt in the past after paying big bucks for players who have ripped up Holland’s top league - but for every Afonso Alves there’s a Ruud van Nistelrooy or Luis Suarez.
Rather than follow in the footsteps of Alves, Mateja Kezman and company, Bony is busy conquering the Premier League - and Swansea City will surely be powerless to keep him in south Wales for too much longer.
Jamie Carragher has called on his former employers Liverpool to splash the cash on Bony, but if the player harbours ambitions of playing for a club in the Champions League then Manchester United could be his perfect destination.
Liverpool have endured a poor start to the season and have their work cut out to secure a top-four finish, while Manchester United are on course to re-qualify for Europe’s elite club competition after winning their previous six matches.
At the end of the season United boss Louis van Gaal has a difficult decision to make over the future of Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, who has barely featured since arriving at Old Trafford on a season-long loan from AS Monaco on deadline day.
Falcao’s fitness - or lack of - is a major concern, while the fact he turns 29 in February makes a £44 million purchase very risky indeed.
If Van Gaal decides Falcao is not worth the gamble - and unless the South American hit man proves his fitness in the coming weeks, that would have to be considered a smart move - then Bony would be a fantastic alternative.
Less of a gamble
Manchester United have a chance to sign their very own version of Drogba. At 26, Bony’s best years are still ahead of him. This is a striker capable of scoring at least 20 goals every season over the next four or five years.
For £25 million it’s a no-brainer - although it all depends on Falcao, who was world-class prior to his serious knee injury.
Can he reach those extraordinary levels once again? If Van Gaal is not convinced then the prolific Bony is the man who must become Manchester United’s permanent number nine.
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