I want to start this article on a positive note. The transfer window doesn’t shut for a long time yet and we’ve already made some quality signings.
Håvard Nordtveit looks the real deal; he can play both the defensive midfield role, providing depth and competition for Noble, Kouyate and Obiang, as well as centre back, providing cover in case of any injuries.
Sofiane Feghouli is someone who I think will really take the Premier League by storm, providing pace and attacking intent as well as goals, as he demonstrated with some style in our recent friendly against Karlsruher SC. Gökhan Töre has worked with Bilic before and he appears to have been a target since he was appointed, which can only mean good things.
Tying Lanzini down on a permanent deal is crucial – he is already an important player for us and will only improve. As well as this we have made some good additions to our youth set up, including Ashley Fletcher who I will come to later.
Having said that, we are yet to sign a first team striker and are looking short up front. Valencia is just not cut out for the Premier League and looks as though he will be moving on. Sakho is clearly unsettled, and although he is a good player we do not want anyone who does not want to be here.
That leaves Carroll; undoubtedly a top striker but too injury prone to rely on, although I think Antonio would make good striker and it would be worth trying him out there in pre-season.
We look like we will conclude a deal to sign Jonathan Calleri, who will hopefully emulate his fellow Argentinian Lanzini and bring goals and flair to our team. Fletcher, who we signed from Manchester United, has looked very impressive in pre-season and although he’s still young, he should be given a chance to prove himself in the first team, where he hopefully can match the achievements of his former teammate Marcus Rashford.
Of the other realistic names we have been linked to I think Wissam Ben Yedder would have been an excellent signing. He bagged a lot of goals for a side who barely escaped relegation in Ligue 1, and has the potential to be very effective for a team like us. But unfortunately Sevilla beat us to his signature.
Despite this, neither Callieri nor Ben Yedder could be classified as the marquee signing our owners have promised, something that has been much publicised but has yet to come to fruition, although not through a lack of trying. We have been linked with Lacazette, Batuashyi and Bacca to name a few, yet we are still looking.
I think it was an error to be so public with our need for a striker and to tell the press that we have £2 million plus to spend. It makes us look desperate and puts clubs we are negotiating with in a stronger position. Still, our owners have done well with signings for us over the last few years and have certainly tried many options, with Bacca seemingly coming the closest to signing before slipping away.
I am not too disappointed to miss out on Bacca – although he’s a good striker, the reported fee was a lot for someone of his age and he is unproven in the Premier League.
In light of this, who should we turn to then as our marquee striker signing? I believe there is a strong case to be made for Wilfried Bony. With 35 goals in 70 games for Swansea he can undoubtedly be prolific in the Premier League, and although his stats are not so impressive for Manchester City, he was reduced to a bit-part role and often came on as a substitute.
Taking a less significant role for a team like Man City is no great slight to a players ability; there are only a handful of players in the world who could challenge Sergio Aguero for a starting space, and Iheanacho is a hugely talented young player that would provide stiff competition to many top strikers.
Most players need regular football to find their form and perform at the best of their ability, something Bony did not get at City but would with us.
At 27, he is in the prime of his career and still has at least three or four years left at the top level, meaning any transfer fee would be a good investment. He offers a physicality that would threaten any defence, and a clinical finishing ability that is invaluable in any striker.
Hopefully he could be convinced to join us, as we can most likely meet his wage demands and most players would prefer to be starting games rather than being sat on the bench.
To have Bony up front backed up by an attacking midfield three chosen from Payet, Lanzini, Antonio, Ferghouli and Tore would be a fearsome attacking proposition for any team, and would certainly offer us a lot of goals.
Bony would be a great signing for us, and provide the goals we need to help us build on last year’s great campaign.
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