Wilfried Bony, Vitesse: Season 2012-13
Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony grew up in Bingerville, where he later joined the Cyrille Domoraud Academy. Before that, he played on the streets. After his years on the streets and at the academy, he joined Issia Wazi. Bony became the top scorer of the Côte d'Ivoire Premier Division in 2007, with six goals. Later that year he went on a trial at Premier League side Liverpool, but did not receive a contract offer. In October, he joined Czech club Sparta Prague and the Ivorian started playing for the reserves. With those reserves, he won the Bohemian Football League (third divison).
After that, Sparta Prague signed Bony on a permanent deal. He broke into the first team in the season of 2008-09 and scored three goals in 16 appearances. One year later he became the club's top scorer with nine goals and won the Gambrinus Liga with the Czech club. During the first half of the 2010-11 season, Bony scored 17 goals, including five (in six appearances) in the UEFA Europa League. After that, on 31 January 2011, Sparta Prague and Dutch club Vitesse announced they had reached an agreement for the Ivorian. He made his debut against De Graafschap on 20 February, replacing midfielder Marco van Ginkel. It took Wilfried Bony only 27 minutes to score his first goal for Vitesse.
In his first full season in Arnhem, the striker scored twelve goals, which made him the tenth highest scorer in the Eredivisie. This earned him a new contract, keeping him at Vitesse until 2015. In the season of 2012-13, Bony scored a last minute winner against Feyenoord on the 2nd of September, securing Vitesse's third win in the first four league games. The Ivorian scored a hat-trick against SC Heerenveen, coming back down from a goal three times, in the 3-3 draw. Bony ended up being top scorer of the Eredivisie with 31 goals in 30 appearances, including scoring for nine consecutive matches. In this season, he won the Dutch Footballer of the Year award. After his great season, he was signed by Swansea City on the 11th of July 2013.
The Welsh side paid a record fee of twelve million pounds (14M euro) for the Ivorian striker, whose work permit was delayed, but was granted three days later. He made his debut for the club on the 1st of August, scoring two goals against Swedish side Malmö FF, in the third qualifying round of the Europa League. According to the BBC, Bony was one of the signings to watch during the 13-14 season. He opened his goal-scoring record in the Premier League on the 17th of August, against Manchester United. He ended that season in the Premier League with a total of 25 goals.
Bony became top scorer of the Premier League in the calendar year of 2014, scoring 20 goals. With those 20 goals, he equalised former Swansea team-mate Michu as the club's all-time leading Premier League goal scorer. With these impressive numbers, many European clubs were interested in the Ivorian striker. On the 14th of January 2015, Bony signed a four-and-a-half year deal with defending champions Manchester City. The initial fee of 25 million pounds can still increase to 28 million pounds based on appearance and performance-related stats, making Bony the most expensive African footballer to date. Bony was included in the squad for the UEFA Champions League knock-out campaign for the Manchester Blues, at the expense of a disgruntled Stevan Jovetić. After winning the African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast, he made his debut for City on the 21st of February, replacing the club's top goal-scorer Sergio Agüero. Three days later he made his debut in the UEFA Champions League, against La Liga giants Barcelona, replacing Bosnian forward Edin Dzeko in the 68th minute. His first league goal for City was scored in their comfortable 3-0 victory over West Brom on the 21st of March and although questions have been asked over his form of late, he has vowed to improve in the new season as he gets settled into his new surroundings in Manchester.