Arsenal Transfers: Why Wilfried Bony Could Be a Realistic January Target

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2013

Arsenal Transfers: Why Wilfried Bony Could Be a Realistic January Target

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    If Arsene Wenger only signs one player for Arsenal this January, it must be a striker. Vitesse Arnhem’s Ivorian centre-forward Wilfried Bony would be a superb addition to an ailing Gunners squad.

    In the wake of Robin van Persie’s departure, Arsenal have turned to Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud to fill the void. However, Walcott is arguably most dangerous on the wing, while Giroud is still struggling to come to terms with the rigours of English football.

    Arsenal need another option, and Bony seems to meet many of their requirements. Earlier this season there was reported interest from Liverpool and Chelsea, but the signings of Demba Ba and Daniel Sturridge respectively means Bony is now free for the taking.

    Over the following three slides, we look at why the powerful forward could be a realistic target for Arsene Wenger.

He Is a Typical Arsene Wenger Signing

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    Arsenal fans want Arsene Wenger to sign established names like David Villa or Radamel Falcao, but that isn't Arsene Wenger's style.

    He prefers to make stars rather than buy them.

    One of the motivating factors behind that stance is pure economics. Buying players with potential rather than world-renown stars is more affordable for a club with Arsenal’s budget. In that respect, Wilfried Bony suits the Gunners down to the ground. At 24, he is about to enter the peak years of his career.

    He also fits the required physical profile. When Arsene Wenger first came to England, he revolutionised the game by signing powerful, athletic players. Although he has more recently tended to recruit smaller, technical footballers, Bony is in that original "Arsenal" mould.

    Like Emmanuel Adebayor before him, Wilfried Bony is a forward with extroardinary physical gifts to complement his technical ability.

    His origins in the game are typical of an Arsene Wenger signing too. He grew up playing street football in Abidjan, also the birth place of former Gunner Emmanuel Eboue, and the city where Kolo Toure began his footballing education.

    On the subject of his Ivorian nationality, it's worth noting that Bony is currently participating in the African Cup of Nations, so would not be eligible for Arsenal until February. However, he is certainly capable of making a major contribution between then and May.

He Is Lighting Up the Eredivisie

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    Wilfried Bony is currently the top goal scorer in the Dutch Eredivisie, and one of the most prolific strikers in Europe.

    He has 16 goals from 18 league appearances, including a phenomenal nine from nine home games. 

    This impressive goal tally has taken Vitesse Arnhem to a very creditable fifth place in the Eredivisie, with Bony contributing a mammoth 44 percent of all their league goals.

    His teammates have been mightily impressed. On-loan Chelsea defender Tomas Kalas, who has trained and played with the likes of Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba in the past, has said:

    Bony has so much quality. It's incredible how strong he is and he's excellent on the ball, too. I can understand why he has been linked with Chelsea and other clubs. It will be impossible for Vitesse to hold on to him if he keeps this up. 

    Now that Chelsea’s interest has waned after signing Demba Ba, Arsenal could be primed to reap the benefits.

    The one question mark against Bony’s record is whether or not he could replicate it outside the Eredivisie. In the past, the likes of Afonso Alves and Mateja Kezman have struggled to replicate their goal-scoring form outside of the Netherlands.

    However, the recent success of Luis Suarez and Bryan Ruiz in the Premier League should give Arsenal confidence that Bony could repeat his feats in England.

He Is a Different Kind of Striker to Olivier Giroud or Theo Walcott

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    Theo Walcott has tremendous pace and cool finishing. Olivier Giroud is strong in the air and can bring others in to play.

    Wilfried Bony has all of those attributes at once. 

    In a season in which neither Walcott nor Giroud has fully convinced as Arsenal’s central striker, Arsenal have been crying out for a forward who is able to combine the best of their abilities. Bony could be that man. 

    He is powerfully built, quick, has a fantastic first touch and can finish. What is striking about Bony is the sheer variety of goals he scores. Walcott is known for rapier one-on-ones; Giroud for salmon-like leaps and headers. Bony scores all sorts of goals, from the spectacular to the scrappy.

    Adding Bony to their stable of attackers would give Arsenal depth, variety and plenty of goals.

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    What do you think? Could Wilfried Bony be a realistic target for Arsenal in this transfer window? Let us know below.