Swansea manager Paul Clement believes Wilfried Bony is close to rediscovering peak fitness as the striker attempts to kick-start his stalled career.
Ivory Coast international Bony returned to the Liberty Stadium on transfer deadline day following unsuccessful spells with Manchester City and Stoke.
After two substitute appearances for the Swans in the Premier League, the 28-year-old started Tuesday’s 2-0 Carabao Cup win at Reading before being taken off with nine minutes remaining.
Boss Clement feels the powerful forward – who hit 34 goals in his first spell with City between 2013 and 2015 – is now fit enough to begin repaying the Welsh club’s reported Â£12million outlay.
“I think he’s close because he lasted going on 80 minutes there,” Clement said following victory at the Madejski Stadium.
“(He) had a really good chance, very close in the second half when that ball came across the box and he didn’t direct it at the net.
“Physically he’s in good shape.
“He played in the Under-23 team, he played 60 minutes, he’s played 80 now, so I think he’s ready, I think he’s ready to start a game in the Premier League.”
Bony, who could be thrust into the starting XI for Saturday’s league match at home to Watford, signed for the club on the same day as Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches.
The Bayern Munich loanee is another player looking to reinvigorate his career after so far failing to fulfil the promise shown with his country at Euro 2016.
The 20-year-old has started three successive games for City and his manager, who worked with him as a coach at Bundesliga champions Bayern, believes he is steadily improving.
“He’s making progress, you can see that,” Clement said. “W ith each performance, I think he’s got slightly better.
“There’s still a lot of room for improvement, both on the physical side and some of his decision making and I think the two are related; when you’re tired you tend to make poorer decisions, when you’re fit and stronger you make better decisions.
“I think as the game (at Reading) wore on he started to give the ball away because he was getting tired but I wanted him to stay out there for the 90 (minutes) – it’s a good step for him.”
Published at Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:23:57 +0000