Southeast Asia Thailand

Port FC buying Nelson Bonilla is total nonsense! – Here’s why

Port FC’s interest in Bonilla adds further speculation on the Salvadoran international’s future with True Bangkok United.

Despite the recent recruitment of defenders Adisorn Promrak and the Aksornsri twins, Port FC shows no signs of slowing down and continues to be linked with a host of big names such as Diogo Luis Santo and Nelson Bonilla among others.

25 goals with Sukhothai in his debut Thai League season plus another 16 from 20 for The Angels the following year reaffirm Bonilla’s status as one of the league’s deadliest finisher. And with Port FC still on a never-ending search for their true number 9, it makes sense for chairwoman Nualphan Lamsam aka Madame Pang to seek out Bonilla’s availability.

Currently contracted at Bangkok United, Bonilla returned home after being de-registered from the foreign player quota due to injury and was subsequently replaced by Brazilian forward Brenner Marlos. “Bonilla’s contract is the one that is finishing now, compared to the other guys, so that has made the difference” True Bangkok United head coach Mano Pölking told Football-Tribe’s Gian Chansrichawla in early July 2020 “It is not easy to keep one [extra] foreign player, especially one at that good level,” he added.

As many fans may have seen previously, the bigger Thai League clubs may sometime keep an extra foreign player exclusively for cup competitions. However, with the 2020 Thai League Cup cancelled and Bonilla’s big wage demand, it’s hard to see the striker hang around for nothing – an idea with solid validity when Pölking admitted, “maybe [Bonilla] wants to go straight to another club.”

The Port Lions is in the market for a reliable poacher. Bonilla will soon become a free agent and True Bangkok United is open to offers. All the sign points to this deal happening – are we about the witness a sensible transfer decision from Port FC?

Well, sorry to kill your hope but, as the headlines said, Port FC buying Nelson Bonilla is total nonsense!

I am not saying it we won’t see Bonilla screaming his heart out in front of the Khlong Toei faithful in the near future. But if the move were to actually materialise, it won’t be via a transfer simply because it’s not worth it for True Bangkok United to lose such a quality player to a close-competitor. Not when next year’s AFC Champions League (ACL) slot is decided by the 1st leg ranking.

If head coach Jadet Meelarp and Madame Pang really want to secure the service of Bonilla then they’ll have to wait till the November, when he is out of contract and available to join on a free transfer. Still, looking from Port’s perspective, even if he were to sign, there is no guarantee Bonilla will hit the ground running.

Not when he must forget ‘Mano-ball’ and order to adapt to Jadet Meelarp’s more direct style. Not during a season with a congested fixture list (a result of the lockdown) and little time to work in the training ground.

Bonilla will improve any side he chooses to sign for. But like any other player, he’ll need time to adjust. The prospect of playing in front of the PAT Stadium crowd is an attractive one for any player – especially with attacking talents such as Sergio Suarez, Heberty Fernandes and Bordin Phala as support which surely increase your chances of scoring tenfold.

Be that as it may, it’s hard to picture Bonilla repeating Dragan Boskovic or Sumanya Purisai’s route to Port FC. And with Madame Pang’s shopaholic approach to transfer strategy, it’s just as difficult to see them wait for reinforcement. Port FC is one of the 4 sides still undefeated. And with 4 ACL slot up for grabs, why not have the strongest squad ready for when football return in September, particularly if money is not an issue.