|Plans To Leave, Pals and Panther Crawls: The Up and Down Story of Bafé Gomis|
Written by BarneyLW on Monday, 31st Aug 2015 20:57
Thanks to the app 'Timehop', which allows one to roll back the years at their social media activity, earlier in the summer I was able to look back my reaction to the signing of Bafétimbi Gomis. What a year is has been concerning the big Frenchman ever since. I imagine I will look back in a year from now at the excitement I illustrated at the considerable coup bringing in Andre Ayew- But you would hope his tenure at the club will not be as up and down.
Signed on a free transfer from Lyon, initially looking like a strike partner to Wilfried Bony, yet it was the Ivorian who started the season as the one main forward option, the go-to man for goals. I don't think any fans begrudged such a decision, Bony remains a fan favourite even now no longer at the club. Yet most will agree we did not see anywhere near as much as we should have from Gomis early on. After a league cup goal against Rotherham, he headed in the winner in a dramatic victory against Arsenal last November. The firs time we saw that famous panther celebration....
Yet the outspoken striker almost managed to disrupt the early season success almost single handed. With Bony linked with a move away and definitely out for all of January with the African Cup of Nations. many rubbed their hands with excitement in the city at the thought of Bafé finally getting his game time. Two goals at Tranmere was the best possible start. But there was something off, the vocal striker seemed quiet, not bothered, not so much complacent at scoring against a League Two side, but like he would rather be somewhere else. This eventually proved to be the case, with an interview for French TV the striker confessed his desire to leave. This led to a mixed reaction from fans, some wanted game time for the forward, others understood his desire for a Champions League challenge again, but questioned his ability. Why would clubs take such a risk on a striker who has not played?
January was a tough month. Chelsea at home sticks out the most, but West Ham in particular I remember, because after that it seemed to be the first time I have actively disliked a Swansea player. Because for all the off the field talk, on the field he seemed lethargic, uncertain and extremely goal shy.
The winter transfer window came and went, Bony left and after all the speculation the unhappy forward made a dramatic U-turn and confessed his desire to stay. Looking back in hindsight, in a position where confidence is key, his displeasure was probably justified. But the remainder of the season was down to him to prove his worth and show everyone why he was right to demand a first team spot.
It was a strange feeling disliking a player, as an eternal optimist that things will improve and struggling players will come good, I prayed for Gomis to change my mind about him. Luckily, it was the case. A superb end to the season meant a record points total and league ranking, and dramatically, more goals scored without Bony than when he wore the number 10 shirt.
The end of the season was marked by Gomis picking up the top scorer award, in the process expressing his love and commitment to the club, proudly proclaiming himself a 'Jack Bastard'! In half a season he had gone from hero, to villain, to hero again.
Indeed most fans were ecstatic at the signing of Ayew from Marseilles, but no player more vocal in his admiration than the Frenchman, the two clearly friends from their time as club rivals. The bond is clear to see, the two scoring all 7 of Swansea's league goals so far. Ayew with 3 and Gomis with 4, both scoring in yesterday's dramatic win against Manchester United.
So, with new born confidence, a superb link up ability with Ayew and an apparent love for the club, Gomis now looks like the player Garry Monk had in mind over a year ago. Very much the main man at Swansea. Every match day for the Swans so far this season we have seen the very unique 'Black Panther' celebration, his league form looks to only get better, spear heading another successful start to the season for the club. And guess what? I love him again.....
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