Wilfried Bony: Newport boss Coughlan not ruling out move for ex-Man City striker

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Wilfried Bony celebrates his goal in Newport development gameWilfried Bony (right) has scored 16 goals in 56 appearances for the Ivory Coast, including two goals at the 2014 World Cup.

Newport County boss Graham Coughlan is not ruling out an audacious attempt to sign striker Wilfried Bony.

The former Manchester City forward has been training with the Exiles since 2019 whenever he has been unattached.

Bony scored the winning goal this week as a Newport development side beat Swindon Town 2-1 in a friendly match.

"Wilf is in the building, so in regards to the January transfer window, it wouldn't take any settling in. There is always a possibility," Coughlan said.

"We've offered Wilf the use of the training facilities and he has been different class, he's been a great lad, his knowledge, his experience around the place has been brilliant with the young lads.

"I've never really looked at it beyond that, we played him the other day because we thought it would benefit the young lads who got to play around him.

"You never say never in football and if Wilf was up for it and he wanted, we would certainly sit and talk to him. If he raised his fitness levels we could have that conversation, I am open to anything."

Bony has settled in south Wales after two separate spells at Swansea City, either side of a £28m move to Manchester City.

The 33-year old spent the second half of last season with NEC Nijmegen in the Eredivisie, having waited over a year to find a club after being released by Al-Ittihad.

Coughlan is the third Newport manager to have welcomed Bony in for training, after he first joined the club informally in 2019.

"The first day he turned up I remember I think a few of us were like 'what is he doing here?', but he's been great since he's been here, he's great around the place, he helps out and gives advice when he can," Newport defender Scot Bennett, who has been at the club since 2016, explained.

"He comes to all the home games and watches, he give us motivation in the dressing room and he's doing it all for free.

"He gives really good advice and that can only benefit us, he works hard with our strikers.

"You can see he's still got the qualities, so if we could sign him, it would only benefit us."

Coughlan says Bony would need to raise his fitness levels to deal with the rigours of League Two, but has no doubt he has the capabilities to flourish.

"His fitness levels (aside), there is a lot of baggage in a good way with him," he told BBC Sport Wales.

"Wilf would obviously have to work a bit harder on his fitness with the way I am and we are and the mentality we have around the club.

"He would have to work on that if he wanted to join us, but I am not going to sit here and say the door is shut. His touch is different class, his hold-up play is different class.

"It is not something that until he scored the goal on Tuesday we had ever contemplated or heard (the idea of him signing for Newport) but obviously things get magnified.

"But I wouldn't say no... but there would have to be a lot of water under the bridge because we are a dynamic team with dynamic players and it would take some fitness shift from Wilfried to join our squad."

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