Monk faces his toughest task yet as Swansea boss to replace Bony

It’s becoming increasingly likely that Wilfried Bony’s tenure at Swansea City is coming to an abrupt end as several trustworthy outlets have reported that Manchester City have agreed a deal with the Welsh side to bring the Ivorian to Manchester.

Unfortunately for Swansea, they have yet again fallen victim to the non-stop transfer merry-go-round, and this time around, they’ve taken a huge wallop to the knee.

Wilfried Bony’s form since his arrival from Vitesse has been nothing short of dazzling. In his two and a half year stint in South Wales, the Ivorian has netted 35 times in 70 appearances – that’s a goal every two games.

Mightily impressive indeed, however his efficiency when Swansea have encountered the ‘big boys’ of the league has been particularly notable, and is perhaps testament to the effect that he’s had on this Swansea side.

 

The ex-Vitesse attacker has contributed to eleven of Swansea’s goals against European contenders since his advent in 2013. All the more impressive when one takes into consideration the sheer lack of confidence, energy and creativity which plagued Swansea’s domestic form last campaign.

All of that will be whisked away from Garry Monk, unfortunately. But it’s not saying it’s goodbyes without leaving a hefty sum of cash in its wake.

In recent times, Swansea have been a club famous for their shrewd transfer business. In fact, look no further than the initial purchase of Bony. Two years after purchasing, Swansea are looking at a neat £16M profit for what is, frankly, an ageing forward.

The inconvenience of Bony’s departure coming during the January transfer window is what the Swansea hierarchy won’t enjoy the look of, though. The market in January is especially replete with peripheral players attached with inflated price-tags, and finding the gem who can carry the burden of goals for Monk will be an exceedingly arduous task.

However, it’s not as if Swansea are short in striking depth with the departure of Bony. Although Bafétimbi Gomis and Nélson Oliveira may possess half the goalscoring prowess of the Ivorian, unlike last season, Garry Monk’s side haven’t been totally dependant on his goals this time around.

The qualities he brings to this current Swansea side mustn’t be understated – he excels in the air, holds the ball up well and in doing so, brings the midfield into play, and most importantly, he can find the back of the net on a regular basis – but Swansea’s midfielder do not fall short in the goalscoring department.

Gylfi Sigurdsson alone has four goals to his name this season, and his free-kick ability in its self has won Swansea several matches this campaign. Additionally, the attacking duo of Kieron Dyer and Wayne Routledge have combined for a total of six goals, while Ki Sung-Yueng – often deployed as the deepest midfielder – has managed to find the net three times.

That is also without undermining the goalscoring capability of summer arrival Bafétimbi Gomis. Despite his struggles adapting to the Premier League, his goalscoring record in France is what enticed Garry Monk to add him to his squad initially – averaging 14 goals per season since 2011/12.

Moreover, it’s possible Gomis will thrive in the absence of Bony. Besides, he has only featured five times from the start this season, and Saturday’s performance against West Ham – without Bony in the side – may be a taster of what’s to come.

Below depicts his record with Lyon during the 2012/13 season:

Prior to the season, the general consensus appeared to deem a midtable finish for Swansea as successful. Yet they sit closer to the European places than they do 12th place. A somewhat remarkable achievement.

Although a Europa League finish may be seen as a distant dream considering the ability of the clubs situated above them, from back to front, Monk has a glut of talent at his disposal to make his inaugural season a satisfying one.

With that in mind, what harm does it do to give Gomis five months to prove to himself, and the manager, that he can replace the goals that Bony once brought to the squad?

Nélson Oliviera may not carry the qualities needed to spearhead an attack in the Premier League, but he’s a worthwhile asset to have around given Garry Monk’s tactical flexibility.

There are also others of Swansea’s squad that need addressed: they have been without a top-quality left-back since the departure of Ben Davies, their current options in the heart of defence are rather thin, and another central midfielder may be required if they do not plan on making Tom Carroll’s loan a permanent deal in the summer.

If Swansea can address their needs in other areas of the pitch between this month and the summer, whilst keeping their eyes and ears open for potential forward options, the 2015/16 may be the year Swansea make significant strides towards European qualification.

Banking £30M on a forward this month may cost Monk his position in the long-run, however. That’s why it’s imperative he wishes Bony all the best and adopts a laissez-faire attitude from now until June.

As tempting as it must be for Garry Monk to indulge into the transfer market and start planning for life without the Ivorian, the possible detrimental effects a January arrival can have are overabundant.

There are stars to be found in the summer – Sam Allardyce will concur – and after all, a 35 goal striker did cost a mere £12 million just two years ago.

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Craig Vickers

16-year-old Gooner with a peculiar love for Marco Verratti.

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