SBV Vitesse and Chelsea FC are about as tightly linked together nowadays as it is possible within the rules and regulations of their respective leagues and UEFA. But while we've been occupying our time chasing after Marco van Ginkel, another Vitesse standout has fallen off the radar. Which is rather surprising, considering that he was the Eredivisie's leading scorer and Vitesse's player of the year. If you read the title of this article, you'll of course know that I'm talking about Wilfried Bony.
Bony first popped up on our radar over 18 months ago: here's Steve's scouting report on the Ivorian from the wayback machine of November 2011. As Bony continued developing alongside the Chelsea-Vitesse relationship, an eventual switch to Chelsea looked ever more likely. Ahead of the last January transfer window, both his agent and the player himself confirmed interest in and interest from Chelsea, yet no move materialized. A few weeks ago his agent shed some light on what happened:
"He could have gone to Chelsea in January, but he was busy with the African Cup of Nations and they focused on other players"
-Source: Tutto Mercato via Inside Futbol
As we know, Chelsea ended going with Demba Ba instead and he's been ... ok, I guess. Started like a house on fire, that's for sure but then went all shankopotamus on us far too often.
But back to the wonderfully named Wilfried Bony. Chelsea are not the only club to be linked with the 24-year-old. Arsenal, Liverpool, West Ham (who appeared to be potential leading candidates for his signature a few weeks ago), as well as a couple different Italian destinations have been mooted. Although, perhaps the Italians can be crossed off the list:
"It is a unique opportunity to play in the Premier League, one of the best championships in the world."
-Source: De Telegraaf via talkSport
Of course there's a slight matter of Bony's contract that runs until 2015, meaning that Vitesse would only really be motivated to sell their goal machine if a) they made certain promises to him and b) he was unhappy enough to try to force a move.
"When the next opportunity arises [to leave] I will fight to get out, I am very angry with Vitesse. They made many promises and did not keep them all. Now my goal is to join a top team in Europe."
-Source: De Telegraaf via talkSport
And this isn't a new complaint either. Here's Bony from April of this year:
"Next summer I am gone."
"This is my moment. But it is difficult if you play for a club like Vitesse."
"There have been many promises, and not just to me. For me, it was also about money, but that was not the most important thing, it was about respect. And I don’t think Vitesse showed it."
-Source: Voetbal International via Inside Futbol
Not exactly mincing his words, is he? It's clear that he wants to move to a bigger league and bigger club. That's the sort of ambition scoring 31 league goals in 30 matches will lend you. Here they all are, if you have five minutes.
Would Bony be a fit at Chelsea? He does score in abundance, which is something we've lacked in a center forward for some time. He is big and strong and is ready to hit the prime time. And when we were first linked with him, it made plenty of sense to bring him into the fold. But since then, Romelu Lukaku had begun to live up to his immense potential and now Mourinho looks keen to put him to work at the Bridge. And I still have hope that splashing the cash on Edinson Cavani remains as a strong possibility.
However, as far as a backup plan for £10-15 million goes, it doesn't get much better than Wilfried Bony.