LONDON, January 14 – Manchester City on Wednesday confirmed the signing of Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony on a four-and-a-half-year contract from Swansea City.
“City have completed the signing of Wilfried Bony from Swansea City,” the English champions announced on their website.
“The 26-year-old striker has agreed terms on a four-and-a-half-year deal, which will keep him at the Etihad Stadium until the end of the 2018/19 season.”
Swansea said the transfer fee was a “club record”, but although City did not publicise the exact figure, British media reports claimed they had agreed to pay up to £28 million ($42 million, 36 million euros) for Bony.
Bony was quoted as saying: “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.
“I think it’s a great decision for me — Manchester City is in the Champions League. You remember at the end of last season I said that if I want to move it will be to a team in the competition because it’s a great tournament that I really want to play in and one that I want to win.
“It’s a motivation for me to give my maximum to be in that place. City is a big club with great players with a lot of experience; I believe we can do it.”
Bony, who will wear the number 14 shirt, is thought to have undergone a medical examination with City in Abu Dhabi, where the club’s owners are based.
He is currently on international duty with Ivory Coast ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea, where he will play alongside future City team-mate Yaya Toure.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini is a long-standing admirer of the player and his ability.
– ‘Skill and power’ –
“He is very difficult to mark because he is so strong,” said the Chilean.
“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
“He will be a very good addition to our squad. We now have four top-class strikers and I am looking forward to seeing them work together.
The dreadlocked Bony joined Swansea from Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem in 2013 for a club-record fee of £12 million.
He was the Premier League’s top scorer in 2014 with 20 goals and has scored nine times in 22 appearances this season.
Swansea had earlier criticised the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) for announcing that the deal had been completed before the two clubs had confirmed the news.
In a subsequent statement on their website, the Welsh club paid tribute to Bony, writing: “Everyone at Swansea City would like to thank Wilfried for his superb service to the club, and wish him well for the future.”
Bony’s arrival at the Etihad Stadium fills the void in City’s attacking ranks created by Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo’s loan move to Valencia.
City’s lack of squad depth up front was highlighted recently when injuries to Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic saw midfielder James Milner pressed into action as an auxiliary centre-forward.
But with Ivory Coast not due to launch their Africa Cup of Nations campaign until Tuesday, and with the tournament running until February 8, it could be some time before Bony makes his City debut.