From impressive goalscoring machine at the Swans to training with League Two side Newport County, Wilfried Bony struggled to replicate his early success in front of goal, as Alasdair Hooper writes.
With the confirmation that Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero is to leave the club at the end of this season, all talk has turned to who could be the latest striker to don the iconic City sky blue.
Looking back, however, there was once a time when City would have had an abundance of strikers to choose from – one of which was Wilfried Bony.
After an impressive first spell with Swansea City – where he bagged 34 goals in a season and a half – the Ivorian joined Manchester City in January 2015 for around £25million.
As was reported at the time, his arrival meant that City had one more foreign player in their Champions League squad than they were permitted to register. Manager Manuel Pellegrini included Bony at the expense of Stevan Jovetic, seeing him join the ranks of Aguero and Edin Dzeko.
After winning the 2015 African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast, Bony made his City debut on February 21. It would take another month until his first goal – a strike in a 3-0 win over West Brom on March 21.
But things just did not work out for the striker in Manchester. His first half a season saw him bag just two goals in 10 appearances and he scored only eight in all competitions during his second season.
Bony was never much more than a squad player at City and once Pep Guardiola arrived as manager, he was made available for transfer.
The Ivorian found himself loaned to Stoke City in August 2016, scoring just twice in 11 appearances, before things slipped further downhill later that year.
While at Stoke he declined a move to the Chinese Super League but, after returning from the 2017 African Cup of Nations, he was essentially frozen out by manager Mark Hughes.
His return to Swansea the following season looked as if it might spark some sort of return to previous goalscoring prowess, but it didn’t quite happen. Bony becoming another example of why footballers preach, ‘never go back’.
For starters, the striker opted to wear the number 2 shirt – certainly not a popular election with squad number purists – before scoring a measly two league goals in his first season back.
It was also a year disrupted by lengthy injuries, one of which left Bony unable to play for the final three months of the season which saw Swansea relegated to the Championship.
While the forward did stick around briefly in the second tier, he was soon loaned out to Qatari side Al-Arabi in January 2019. At the end of the season, when he was released by Swansea, he began training in August 2019 with League Two side Newport County.
Bony made a return to football in January 2020 with Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad but just 10 months later the striker announced that both he and the club had agreed to terminate his contract.
So where is Wilfried Bony now? At the age of 32, the one-time prolific Premier League marksman is without a club and only keeps his eye in by doing the odd bit of training with Newport.
Two weeks ago (on March 25) it was reported that the striker had been offered to Swedish second-tier club Örgryte IS.
But it doesn’t look like that deal will be happening. The club’s sporting director Igor Krulj confirmed that Bony had been offered to Örgryte, but they decided not to pursue a move.
So, in terms of the here and now, Wilfried Bony’s next move is still very much up in the air.
You can follow Alasdair on Twitter at @adjhooper1992