Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Gomis must earn “Jack” status

Nathan Lewis looks at Bafetimbi Gomis' recent turnaround

“Everybody are very kind and helpful with  me. I'll do all my best to help the team 2 catch his goal. To all Swans fans i am jack!”

The immortal words there of Bafetimbi Gomis via his personal twitter account. I’m sure I’m not the only one who, upon reading this tweet, felt massively mixed emotions. While it is surely good news that the man assigned as our main first-team striker for at least the next half-season is seemingly committed to the club, there still remains a hint [and that's being kind - Ed] of uncertainty over the sincerity of these tweeted words. 

Firstly, the tweet conflicts with the direct quotes that have appeared in newspapers, on TV and online. Having spent the previous thirty days seemingly offering his services to club after club, and openly professing his irritation at playing second-fiddle to Wilfried Bony (scorer of thirty-four goals in just under a season and a half…), the French striker has gone public with his ‘happiness’ at Swansea. This may be the talk of a cynic, but perhaps Gomis noted the dwindling chances of his leaving any time soon, and felt the need to appease the fans that will be rooting for him in the near future.

Now, let’s look past my cynical wonderings, and assume that the long-haired Frenchman has undergone a change of heart since his wantaway, directly quoted interview. With assurances of a long-term run in the first-team, he will want to prove that he can apply himself in the Premier League, and grab himself a handful of goals. So he’s staying. What now?

One particular point of Bafe’s tweeted proclamation of loyalty that seems to jar slightly is his calling himself a Jack. Having made himself available to a large number of clubs, his sudden sense of affinity with the fans feels ever so slightly clichéd. Swansea players are famously heralded with “You Jack Bastard” by the loyal fans, but this could be the first time that a player has applied the tag to themselves. Gomis now has to prove that his words are not just a twee PR stunt, and must apply himself and show some loyalty to his fellow Jacks. 

Watching our gritty win over Southampton last weekend, it felt like the Frenchman was showing more fight for the cause, and contributing a bit more than he had in the previous few weeks. That said, to say he was giving everything, pressing hard in defence and fighting for every ball would be an overstatement. While former Swans frontman Bony worked like a Trojan up top alone, Gomis’ body language on Sunday struck me as though he was less inclined to be part of a collective team effort, and there are few things that irk Swansea fans more than a player who is workshy or plays as an individual.

If Gomis is to win over the diehard fans in the stands, he has to start working harder to prove himself, and live up to the mantle of being a “Jack”. 

Thanks to Nathan for this piece - follow him on Twitter @NathDavidLewis. I agree with his point - while I'm happy Gomis is committed until the end of the season his comments were obviously borne of a "lack of a better option", so he has some way to go yet before he'll convince me that he's anything approaching a team player.