Swansea City, Wilfried Bony, and a contrast of styles 5

James Knight expresses concerns over Wilfried Bony’s suitability to Swansea City…

Wilfried Bony cost Swansea more than 12 million pounds this summer, more than doubling their transfer record in the process. It was a statement of intent and of an ambition on Michael Laudrup’s part to offer a different threat. So far, it hasn’t really worked. Bony looks totally unsuited to the Welsh side’s style and has contributed just two league goals.

Obviously it’s still very early on in his career in England, but at the moment he feels like a player at completely the wrong club. The rest of Laudrup’s summer signings – the likes of Jordi Amat, Jose Canas, Alex Pozuelo and Jonjo Shelvey (just about) – were clearly bought to fit the system Swansea play. The Spaniards in particular are used to the style and have bedded in very quickly, whereas Bony has often cut a frustrated, periphery figure and has had to settle for substitute appearances in their last two league games.

He was brought in to offer the side something different; primarily a more physical presence and to take some of the goal burden off Michu’s shoulders. That’s fine, but the problem with signing a player like that is when his preferred style is so different to the rest it begins to harm the team. Selecting a big centre-forward who feeds off direct balls and isn’t very interested in defending from the front into a possession-orientated, high pressure side doesn’t seem destined to get the best out of either party.

To make a rather crude comparison, when Barcelona signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic they put a brilliant player into a brilliant team but those two components were so radically opposed that it just didn’t work. The early evidence suggests something similar is happening at the Liberty Stadium. Bony’s relationship with Michu is virtually non-existent and instead of helping push Swansea to the next level, both are struggling and the team is suffering for it.

Michu, of course, is absent for the next few games and perhaps the star man’s absence will give their record signing the chance to step up and show why Laudrup saw fit to splash out on him. He really needs to take it, lest Swansea’s season grinds to a halt before it’s even really begun.

Follow James Knight on Twitter here.

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