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Wilfred Bony: NEC Nijmegen sign former Manchester City striker

13:56 GMT 27/01/2022
Wilfred Bony
The 33-year-old Cote d’Ivoire international will be hoping to revive his professional career at the Dutch elite division outfit

Eredivisie side NEC Nijmegen have confirmed the signing of former Manchester City striker Wilfred Bony.

The Ivorian striker has been without a club since leaving Saudi Arabia club Al-Ittihad in November 2021.

However, he has been handed a lifeline to boost his fast-fading career. Nijmegen signed a contract that binds him to the Dutch topflight until the end of the current 2021-22 season.

“N.E.C. have captured Wilfried Bony. The 33-year-old attacker signed a contract today that binds him to the Nijmegen club until the end of the season,” a statement from the club website read.

“After receiving his work permit, the Ivorian immediately joins the selection of coach Rogier Meijer.”

Bony made a huge impact during his first spell in the Netherlands a decade ago. At Vitesse Arnhem, he was top scorer during the 2012-13 campaign with 31 goals.

That feat earned a move to Swansea City in July 2013 for a Welsh record transfer fee of £12 million at that time. There, he scored 34 goals in 70 appearances for the Welsh club.

He expressed his delight after joining NEC and he is fired up for the challenge ahead.

"I am happy to join N.E.C. After Ted van Leeuwen, with whom I have always maintained good contact, asked me to work in Nijmegen, I made a well-considered decision to sign for N.E.C,” he told the club website.

“After the termination of my contract in Saudi Arabia, I was not ready to quit football.

“In the Netherlands, I had a good time and I am very happy that I get the chance to play in the Eredivisie.

“While I am aware that this is a sensitive switch for some, I expect to get a fair chance to present myself in a positive way to our supporters.

“I'm going to do everything I can to get match fit as soon as possible so that I can be important to the team quickly.”

According to the club’s technical director Ted van Leeuwen, the striker is a perfect replacement for injured Pedro Ruiz.

"Finding a ball-holding striker is always difficult, especially in winter. In addition, we noticed that in 2022 many clubs are reluctant to hand over players. Before you know it, you have a handful of positively tested players and you are in trouble," he said.

"Wilfried obviously fits that profile but had stopped playing football. He lives in Wales and kept fit by training in his hometown with the local professional club Newport County, which is active in League Two.”

With this move, Bony becomes the third African at NEC. Others are Jonathan Okita (Congo), and Souffian El Karouani (Morocco).