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Free Nelson Bonilla! Port Snap Up Salvadoran

 

With rumours going into overdrive in the last week or so, the deal was officially announced last night – El Salvador international striker Nelson Bonilla is now a Port FC player! As usual the details of the deal are somewhat opaque but we hear Nelson has joined on an initial 3-month loan to take him to the end of his Bangkok Utd contract, with the deal being made permanent from there.

Bonilla has been a sensation since arriving in Thailand. In 2018 he scored 25 goals in 33 games for a thoroughly average Sukhothai side, before moving to Bangkok Utd in 2019 where he scored 16 in 20 despite an injury-ravaged season. Every time I’ve seen him he’s looked like a proper Scary Foreign Striker, as well as being a true master of the Latin American dark arts – one Port defender told me he is absolutely horrible to play against.

So it seems Port finally have the proper no9 we’ve been craving and which Jadet’s 4-5-1 system requires. The only question now is, who makes way? Port’s foreign player roster currently reads Rochela, Suarez, Heberty, Josimar, Bonilla. We can assume that Josi won’t make the cut for the 2020 squad, and Suarez is now as much a part of Khlongtoey’s DNA as the market and Leo Beer, so that leaves either Rochela or Heberty to make way. Whilst, despite his goals, Heberty has never looked settled at Port and seems to still be pining for the fjords of Muangthong, he is arguably the best player in T1; and the recent signings of Adisorn, Right Thit and Left Thit mean Port are oversubscribed in central defence and a foreign player in that position is something of a luxury. So I would expect Rochela to be the one making way, especially given that he was dropped for the second half of last season.

That just leaves the question of how Port will line up with their new striker, given that both Heberty and Suarez like to play in the hole. Jadet’s commitment to 4-5-1 is the closest and most unbreakable marriage since Paul & Linda McCartney, and he’s unlikely to risk a Heather Mills episode by switching to a different formation, so it looks like he’ll stick with his Wings and the usual 4-5-1. I’m really sorry, that analogy got rather convoluted. Which means either one of Heberty or Suarez starting on the bench, or, more likely, Heberty playing wide on the right at the expense of Pakorn or Thanasith.

Whatever the side, Port now have such an embarrassment of attacking riches the T1 title is surely theirs to lose. If only we could sign a proper goalkeeper…

 

Tim Russell

Tim Russell

The founder and editor of The Sandpit, Tim has been in SE Asia since 2003 and in Bangkok since 2012, where he runs a travel tech business. Tim has followed Port FC since 2014, and is also a fan of his hometown club Coventry City, and French club AS St-Etienne. He has written for the likes of Football365, ITV.com, NME and The Quietus, and is a regular contributor to God Is In the TV. He's a keen photographer and his work can be seen on his website.

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