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Swans' hitman hunt close to end after Bony breakthrough.

Byline: CHRIS WATHAN chris.wathan@walesonline.co.uk

SWANSEA CITY are pushing ever closer to finalising the record-breaking transfer for Ivory Coast ace Wilfried Bony after a breakthrough in negotiations over the weekend.

But Swans chairman Huw Jenkins told the Western Mail last night there is still work to be done before celebrating the capture of the Dutch Eredivisie's top scorer.

Swansea lodged an improved offer with Vitesse Arnhem on Friday for the 24-year-old - believed to be around PS12m - who is expected to be offered a four-year-deal.

And with the player's representative in the deal saying the striker was now intent on joining the Swans, there was always renewed optimism that the deal could be pushed through.

That now seems to be the case with Swansea looking to make the key progress on the move over the next 24 hours.

But there remains some intricacies within the offer to the club to be tied up first, while then making sure there is common ground in personal talks before the final stage of making sure the player comes through a medical.

And with the deal set to more than double the previous club record outlay, set when Pablo Hernandez arrived from Valencia for PS5.55m last August, it is clear Swansea will not rush the latter stages of their search for a new striker.

Despite the caution, it seems there remains a real hope that Bony can be confirmed as Michael Laudrup's sixth major addition of the summer.

Swansea - who have already shelled out around PS8m in fees for Jose Canas, Jordi Amat, Alejandro Pozuelo, Jonjo Shelvey as well as securing the loan return of Jonathan de Guzman - are still in the hunt for further new additions.

Specifically, there remains a want to add further wing option as well as another striker to supplement the new No.9. But the wish-list does not include Blackburn's Jordan Rhodes despite suggestions he was subject of a Swansea enquiry last week.

And Swansea will hope to tie up the deal for Bony as their main priority at the moment, with the aim for the former Sparta Prague frontman to link up with Laudrup's squad during their pre-season tour of the Netherlands. The second of their four-game stay in Den Haag ended in victory yesterday when the Swans followed up an opening 2-0 win over FC Gravenzande on Saturday by coming from behind to beat Excelsior Maassluis 5-1. The third-tier Dutch outfit took a seventh-minute lead following a defensive lapse, but the Swans - wearing their new purple and yellow away shirts for the first time - were ahead before the break through Roland Lamah and Rory Donnelly. Lamah levelled in the 17th minute and, after the Belgian winger had hit the woodwork, Ulsterman Donnelly controlled well in the box to fire into the top corner after 28 minutes.

Like the Gravenzande game, the hot conditions meant the game took a brief water break after 20 minutes - but Swansea really put the heat on Excelsior in the second period.

Laudrup changed his entire line-up at half-time, meaning Michu got his first run-out of the tour after missing Saturday's game with a tight quad.

Summer signing Pozuelo extended Swansea's lead after 70 minutes with a neat lob before Michu set up Dutch winger Kenji Gorre for a fourth.

Pozuelo turned provider for the fifth as Nathan Dyer finished with two minutes remaining, but Swansea face a far sterner test against NAC Breda on Wednesday.

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Swansea City are edging closer to the record-breaking signing of Vitesse Arnhem striker Wilfried Bony
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 8, 2013
Words:593
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