Bony buy has been a bonanza for Swans
Swansea's season so far has been one full of gambles: from the forced gamble of taking a small squad through four competitions, to the calculated gamble of a mid-season managerial change. Perhaps the Swans' biggest gamble of all came before a ball was kicked, when chairman Huw Jenkins spent twelve million pounds on striker Wilfried Bony, a target identified by former manager Michael Laudrup. - Report: Monk: Bony key to Swansea future In Premier League terms, twelve million pounds isn't all that much. It would only buy you, say, two Lee Cattermoles, or half of Robin van Persie, but it is still a massive sum for a spend-thrifty side like Swansea. Before Bony became the club's record signing, the most Swansea had ever spent on a single player was just over five and a half million pounds for Pablo Hernandez. This week, new boss Garry Monk has suggested that Swansea want to build their team around their expensive Ivorian centrepiece, moving to dissuade potential suitors from unsettling the striker with lucrative offers this summer. It's a smart play -- Swansea will field offers for Bony this summer, and probably should build a team around him rather than sell because the striker is a rare and valuable asset. At just six-foot, Bony might not have conventional target-man height, but neither does he have conventional target-man clumsiness, as he is capable of the deftest of touches and possesses some frankly astonishing individual skill. Bony certainly has target-man strength; it is hard to name one single player in all of world football that would win a physical duel with the frontman. He also has a correspondingly hard shot ("the hardest I've ever seen", according to Monk), and a 90 minute engine, even if he does appear to idle in neutral at times. No doubt Swansea will field offers, but they'd be well-advised to hold on tight to their prized asset. Twelve million pounds might have been a lot for the Welsh side to pay, but the figures suggest the Swans still got a bargain. I had a quick look at how well the Premier League's newest strikers have fared so far this season. I looked only at starting-caliber strikers who were bought this summer (not loaned or signed on free transfers) for their respective clubs, to see which club was getting the most bang for their buck. Here's a chart to show the relevant strikers basic stats: Swansea are clearly in the lead here; Bony has scored the most goals and has played the most minutes. He has near enough doubled Roberto Soldado's output at less than half the price, despite playing about the same number of minutes. Spurs clearly paid a premium for Soldado, with the corollary that he'll come good given time, while Alvaro Negredo has been almost as good as Bony in playing for a side full of superstars. However, the ugly side of the table tells the real story. The combined transfer fees for Pablo Osvaldo, Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Andreas Cornelius and Jozy Altidore come to a little over 37 million pounds (or one Sergio Aguero, who suddenly looks terrific value). Those players have combined for five Premier League goals in a combined 3930 minutes, or 43-and-a-half full games. The message? It is easy to spend big and go bust. Here's another chart to put things in a financial perspective -- the amount each club has effectively 'paid' for each appearance, goal, assist or minute of performance: Bony gives the best value for goals and assists, and although other players have "cost" marginally less for appearances and minutes played, each of them have horrible figures in the other categories. Was Bony a good buy? He wasn't just a good buy, he was the best buy in his position in the Premier League this season, producing superior stats despite a constantly changing (i.e. injured) supporting cast. As gambles go, twelve million pounds for Wilfried Bony has so far been a huge win in every way for Swansea.