With Bony’s Ivory Coast qualifying for the African Cup of Nations, do we find ourselves with a striker crisis? Josh Kilmister takes a look...
Ivory Coast international Wilfried Bony will, if all goes to plan for the Ivory Coast, miss all of our games from January 17th to February 8th - missing three league games against Chelsea, Southampton and Sunderland. One question on everybody’s mind is whether Monk has any plans to bring in someone to fill the huge gap that Wilf will leave; who will he bring in and what sort of contract will they be offered?
It’s always been inevitable that Bony would be travelling with The Elephants to the tournament. They really are a fantastic team, and it wouldn’t surprise me if come mid-February we have a African Cup of Nations winner spearheading our attack. I can almost guarantee that Monk has been looking at a possible stand-in for a number of months. So, what options does he have?
Firstly, there’s the possibility of bringing Michu back. If the Italian media are correct, then Napoli are keen to get Michu back to South-Wales as soon as possible. Failing to set the Serie A alight with the form he showed in his first season in Swansea, if we wanted him back I’m almost certain we could get him; but we won’t.
The truth to the matter is that Michu is still very much struggling with the ankle injury that all but ended his goal scoring stint in the Premier League, so calling him back just to add to our outgoings in wages seems pointless; especially considering that Bony’s new contract almost certainly includes a pay rise! Monk has already made it blatantly clear that he has no intentions of bringing back the Spaniard, claiming that he hasn’t even read the terms of the loan deal.
With all that in mind, don’t be expecting our now second all time Premier League top scorer to make a return. Then there’s the option of promoting someone from our Under 21 system. We’ve already seen the likes of Modou Barrow make an impact in the first team, but is he good enough to fill in? Personally, I think he is. It’s almost fact that Gomis will be our starting striker for the games that Bony will miss meaning that Barrow, along with Emnes, would be our backup options. Rory Donnelly is another option.
Featuring in pre-season for a number of seasons now, the Irish born striker has struggled with injury of late but might be back for the time Bony will miss. Donnelly has little to no Premier League experience, but is very highly thought of by Monk and Co. Perhaps the most sensible and most likely option is to bring someone in on loan in the upcoming January transfer window. Monk has hinted that this is what will happen, and it might even be someone who we would look to bring in permanently in the summer.
If this is the case, then I can only assume that we would go for someone a little bit different to what we currently have in our squad. Monk has already stressed that he wants his team to be able to go into a game with numerous styles of play available, and with two strikers with many similar attributes this could prove difficult. For me, a loan deal would be brilliant. As much as I very much doubt Gomis will be pushed out of a starting place with Bony absent, it’s always nice to have a backup option.
However, I’m equally sure that someone like Modou Barrow has the ability to come off the bench and make an impact every week, as he did against Arsenal. One thing I am sure of though is that whatever happens in our latest transfer saga, for the month of January, I am a proud Ivory Coast fan!
Thanks as usual to Josh for this latest piece. Give him a follow on Twitter @JoshKilmister