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May 2, 2013

Clarke to target Vitesse striker Bony

West Bromwich Albion head coach Steve Clarke wants to make Wilfried Bony his main summer signing and is awaiting clearance from owner Jeremy Peace to enter the transfer scramble for the Vitesse Arnhem striker.

Wilfried Bony bagged a brace for Vitesse
Wilfried Bony is a man in demand

Clarke has identified Bony as the ideal replacement for Chelsea's on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku, who is not expected to return to the Hawthorns next season. He is yet to discuss summer transfer budgets with Peace, but has already stated he wants to make one "marquee" signing this summer and Bony is believed to be high on his wanted list.

With Lukaku returning to Stamford Bridge and Peter Odemwingie likely to be sold in the summer, as well as Marc-Antoine Fortune being released, Clarke needs to reinforce his striking options for next season.

Albion are among a number of clubs who have enquired about the 24-year-old Ivory Coast striker, who is the leading goalscorer in the Dutch Eredivisie this season with 31 goals.

Chelsea, Liverpool, West Ham United and Albion, along with Inter Milan, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund are all monitoring developments.

Bony has stated he would prefer a move to the Premier League when he has completed the last two games of the season in Holland.

"There is a lot of talk about me in the newspapers. I've heard the rumours but there's nothing concrete. I'm very interested in the Premier League and the atmosphere in England," he said.

"It is a wonderful league and we will see what happens. The Premier League is the top league in Europe, but the Bundesliga is also good. France, Italy and Spain, they're good too but England would be perfect."

Vitesse are likely to be looking for a fee in excess of £10 million for Bony, which would require Peace to sanction a record-breaking signing.

Albion face the added problem of Bony stating he would prefer a move to a club playing in the Champions League next season, adding: "It would be great for me. It's the only competition I haven't played in yet."

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