Manuel Pellegrini envisages another instant Wilfried Bony hit at Manchester City after the Cote d’Ivoire international finalised a reported £28m transfer to the club on Wednesday.
The Premier League champions have confirmed that the 26-year-old striker has penned a four-and-a-half-year deal and will wear the No. 14 shirt.
If Ivory Coast reach the final of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on 8 February in Equatorial Guinea, Pellegrini may have to wait not earlier than 11 February before he could have the striker in his squad for the trip to Stoke on Trent; a fortnight to the day Barcelona visit the Etihad Stadium in a Uefa Champions League round of 16 tie.
“As a player it’s always good to be part of one of the biggest clubs in the world and it’s a good opportunity for me to be in that situation now – I’m really proud,” Bony told City’s website.
“I felt excited to wait for this moment and now it’s come, it’s fantastic.”
Bony hit the ground running on his Premier League debut in August 2013, scoring Swansea’s only goal in an opening day 4-1 defeat by Manchester United, going on to score 25 goals in 54 appearances, meaning he is solely responsible for 31 per cent of the Welsh outfit’s top-flight goals since his arrival from Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem for a club record £12m fee. His 20 league goals in 2014 were the most that year and the Chilean manager, 61, believes his qualities make him a proper goal poacher.
“He is very difficult to mark because he is so strong,” Pellegrini said. “He is an intelligent footballer who has skill and power.
“His goals record has been excellent since he came to England. He adapted very quickly to the game here and I think he will settle in at City quickly.”
Bony signed his first professional contract at the age of 18 with Issia Wazi in the Ivory Coast’s Premier Division before moving to Sparta Prague on a loan deal in 2007.
He was rewarded with a full contract with the Czech club’s first team after helping Sparta Prague ‘B’ Team claim the Bohemian Football League championship. His goal-scoring knack immediately caught the attention of Vitesse who signed him in 2011.
He finished the 2012-13 campaign as the Eredivisie’s top scorer, clinching the league’s Golden Shoe award with 31 goals from 30 league appearances.
But after 18 months in Wales, the Ivoirian, who has been capped 11 times on international stages, decided it is time he joined the big leagues and compete with the sharks.
Bony added: “I still believe that Swansea was the right club for me to join when I left Holland for the Premier League. I have no regrets, although it’s going to be strange coming back to the Liberty (Stadium) to play against Swansea.
“But now was the right time for me to gain more experience and challenge myself with Champions League football and to try and win trophies.”
In view of the 21-man squad restriction slammed on the Mancunians after they failed to comply with Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, one city player from the Champions League group stage squad must give way so as to include one of the most expensive African footballers in history.