The 22 year old former Sparta Prague striker Bony Wilfried is turning into a cult hero at Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem and rightly so. Bony notched his eighth league goal of the season against local rivals De Graafschap, in fact it was the winning goal which sent Vitesse into the lofty heights of fourth place in the league (above Ajax and Feyenoord).
The recent home match against PSV saw the Vitesse Ultras unveil a giant 60ft banner paying homage to their new found goal machine who they have named Daddy Cool (after the Boney M song). It was an impressive sight and shows exactly how highly he is revered by the Vitesse fans despite only joining the club at the start of the year. Fittingly, Bony responded by netting the equalizer in a 1-1 draw against PSV.
Vitesse Arnhem paid Sparta Prague just over 4m Euros for the Ivorian front man in January 2011 in a deal which appeased both clubs. Sparta banked a sizeable amount for a player who had outgrown the Czech league and Vitesse were able to spend their new found wealth on a talented, instinctive striker.
Bony was hampered by injuries when he arrived in the Netherlands, his first game was 4 weeks after the ink had dried on his contract. Needless to say he scored on his debut in a 2-0 home victory over De Graafschap, he then went on to score three goals in his first four games.
Being able to adapt so quickly shows the measure of his talent and ability, joining a club halfway through the season is always difficult but Bony looks at ease with his team mates and has settled far quicker than many would have expected. Vitesse finished last season in a modest 15th place in the Eredivisie but ambitious chairman Merab Jordania claims his side will win the Dutch league by 2013.
Jordania’s takeover of Vitesse in August 2010 raised a few eyebrows in the Netherlands, the new chairman has a colourful past but he also has very deep pockets and is spending his money wisely by recruiting young, hungry players and by building a team around Bony Wilfried.
October was a fine month for Bony as he weighed in with four goals and was named Vitesse player of the month, the team’s last defeat came on 10th September as they continue to climb the league and backup Jordania’s claim about winning the title by 2013.
Such is the impact made by Bony that rival fans are joking that Vitesse are cheating by playing the 22 year old striker, 8 goals in 10 games already this season shows the improvement he has made since leaving the Czech Republic.
Inevitably, Europes top sides are beginning to sit up and take notice and the vultures are beginning to circle with rumours that Vitesse have already knocked back a monstrous bid from CSKA Moscow and more recently Newcastle have been linked with an 8m Euro bid (an insult if its true).
Comparisons have already been made between Bony and fellow countryman Didier Drogba and given the links between Jordania and Abramovich (Chelsea loaned Czech youngster Tomas Kalas to Vitesse) it wouldn’t surprise me to see Bony playing in the blue of Chelsea in years to come.
I honestly believe and hope that Bony will be terrorizing defences in the Eredivisie for a while yet, the club is just starting to build something special and Bony remains integral to that and leading Vitesse into Europe has to be the goal this season and maybe the ambitious chairman might just be right with his 2013 prediction.
Players like Benoit Pedrett, Andres D’Alessandro and Ricardo Quaresma are prime examples of talented players who moved too soon in their careers and ended up not fulfilling their potential. It would be a crying shame if Bony Wilfired was mentioned in the same breath as these footballers.