Why Monk Must Battle to Keep French Striker


Fraser Watson argues that Swansea City must do all they can to keep striker, amidst rumours he is the subject of interest from Dubai side Al Ahli.


Not so long ago, the prospect of Bafetimbi Gomis leaving the Liberty Stadium would have struggled to cause so much as a ripple amongst Swansea City fans.

However, the breaking news that Emirates outfit Al Ahli are preparing to throw money at luring the French striker to the Middle East, will be met with some trepidation in South Wales.

Gomis arrived from Lyon last June with a big reputation, having scored 66 goals in his previous three seasons with the French side.

But his early days at his new club, to put it mildly, did not go to plan.

Garry Monk’s apparent intention to use the Frenchman as a strike partner to Wilfried Bony, straying from the 4-5-1 formation of years gone by, was swiftly abandoned following an abject team display against Villarreal in pre-season.

As a result, Gomis became something of a bit part player, confined to starting cup fixtures or replacing Bony late in the second half of league games.

There were bright spots – and his movement and link-up play caused Chelsea major problems before the Swans eventually went down 4-1 at Stamford Bridge in September.

But a failure to register a first league goal until November 9th, albeit the winner against Arsenal, did little to suggest he would be ousting Bony anytime soon.

Indeed, by the time the Ivorian had began to negotiate with Manchester City in January, Gomis was so discontented with life on the bench at the Liberty, he publicly voiced his own intentions to leave, seemingly heading for East London and West Ham.

The club of course, refused to let him go, knowing there was little in the way of back up.

The defiance was justified – as the 29-year-old notched late winners against Manchester United (albeit fortuitously) and Aston Villa, and struck a brace in the home win over Hull.

And his momentum continued into the latter days of the season, heading a late winner against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, and scoring past Joe Hart with a sublime volley in the 4-2 loss to City.

Indeed, by the end of the 2014/2015 campaign, Gomis appeared to have adapted to the lone striker role, and his genuine threat in the air meant that like with Bony, the Swans midfield could vary their service to the forward.

He is far from being the finished article in Premiership football, but the potential he has now displayed, coupled with the scepticism surrounding the new signing of Portuguese striker Eder, means the Jack Army will be desperate to see the approach from Al Ahli rebuffed.

Gomis has already stated his intentions to improve on his season goal tally in 2015/2016, whilst at the same time, pledging his loyalty to the club – and his impressive pre-season form thus far suggests he means business.

But having talked the talk, Swansea fans can only hope that regardless of the money on offer from Dubai, he walks the walk.