'We have brought a very good player back'
Paul Clement reckons Wilfried Bony’s desire will drive him forward as the striker starts his second spell at Swansea City.
Bony has returned to the Liberty Stadium just over two-and-a-half years since he left for Manchester City.
The powerhouse frontman’s scintillating form during his first stint with the Swans – he scored 34 goals in 70 appearances – saw him land a big-money move to the Etihad.
But Bony struggled to nail down a place in City’s starting side, then endured a disappointing loan spell at Stoke City last season.
He has now moved back to the club where he made his name in English football – and Clement is convinced the Ivory Coast international will be a success second time around.
“I spoke to Wilfried and got a really good feeling from him about what had happened in his career since he left Swansea and what his motivations are now,” said the Swans manager.
“I have no doubt that he is coming back here with a lot of motivation to do well – he wants to get his career back on track.
“Like any player, he wants to play games and he is going to have a good chance to do that here.”
Bony established himself as one of the Premier League’s most feared frontmen after joining the Swans from Vitesse Arnhem in the summer of 2013.
Asked if the 28-year-old has the ability to get back to that level, Clement added: “Hopefully he will prove to be an even better player now than when he was here last time.
“But it will take a bit of time. He is in decent shape, but he hasn’t had any match practice.
“You can already see in training that he is strong, he is physical, he is a good finisher and he is good with his back to goal.
“He is also a good influence around the squad. He is a bubbly character who is having a very positive influence in the dressing room.
“I think we have brought a very good player back to this club and I have no reason to think he will not be successful.”
Clement has indicated that Bony will make his second Swans debut against Newcastle United this weekend, although he is not yet fit enough to play 90 minutes.
Bony’s last Premier League appearances came for Stoke back in December.
“It’s possible that he could start – he is fit,” Clement said.
“The problem he has is that he has not played any matches in pre-season.
“I have to consider that. He isn’t ready to play 90 minutes, but 100 per cent he will be involved.”