After speculation for months about his future, Ghana international Andre Ayew has decided to leave his childhood club, Marseille, to sign with Swansea City on a four-year deal. The 25-year-old is a coup for the Swans as he’s currently one of the best African players in the world and desires to keep improving.
Ayew is the son of African soccer legend Abedi Pele. His father was a three-time African Football of the Year, a member of the Black Stars that won their last African Cup of Nations title in 1982 and a pivotal player in Marseille’s 1993 Champions League winning side.
Being the child of an icon is difficult especially if you choose the same career as your parent but Andre has always welcomed the attention. Ghana’s vice-captain began to make a name for himself as a kid playing for FC Nania in Ghana. The team is run by his parents but it was obvious that he inherited many of his father’s skills and was signed to Marseille in 2005. He made his professional debut two years later for the club and internationally but still contributed to the youth side of Ghana also. Andre was the captain for Black Satellites when they won the under-20s 2009 African Youth Championship and the 2009 FIFA U20 World Cup.
The two-time Trophée des champions winner eventually became a critical member of his club and used mostly as a left winger, second striker or a playmaker in the no. 10 role. Internationally, the 2011 Ghana Player of the Year has been arguably his nation’s most consistent player for the past five years.
SEE MORE — Swansea City sign Andre Ayew on a free transfer.
In this year’s African Cup of Nations, Ayew led the Black Stars to the final, where they lost on penalties to Ivory Coast. Ghana’s all-time leading scorer and captain Asamoah Gyan wasn’t effective for the majority of the tournament due to an illness and being injured so the two-time Coupe de la Ligue winner carried the load by leading the competition in goals and assists. Also, when his team looked like they lost hope on the pitch or weren’t staying focused, the 2011 BBC African Footballer of the Year would display his tenacity by always interacting with his teammates and giving orders to keep their defensive shape intact. In 62 appearances for Ghana, Ayew has scored 11 goals and once Gyan retires he’ll become the captain of his country’s team.
During the transfer window last year, it seemed like Ayew would be signing to either Hull City or Queens Parks Rangers. The deals didn’t go through and he stayed with Les Olympiens for one more season. Under Marcelo Bielsa, the club’s scoring improved vastly and Andre was second in the club with 10 goals during the Ligue 1 campaign while adding three assists as the team finished the year in fourth place. Last month, the team’s president announced that Ayew would leave the club even though they desperately wanted to keep him.
“We can’t keep Ayew. He is a very important player for OM but we can’t offer him the kind of money English clubs can offer. The French financial system is complicated and we can’t offer him an equivalent salary to what he can earn in England. And equally, we can’t ask Ayew, who we love and is an icon of our team, to accept a lower salary. That makes no sense so unfortunately he is going to quit the club and we hope he has the great career that he deserves in England or somewhere else,” said Vincent Labrune to the Independent last month.
For Marseille, Ayew scored 52 goals in 181 appearances. Multiple teams in Europe, including major clubs, were interested in signing Andre. Many believe that he’s regressing by going to Swansea but under Garry Monk he’ll have the opportunity to be an important first-team player, which is necessary for a person entering the prime of his career. Ayew’s been given the prestigious no. 10 shirt and his new side hopes he quickly forms a partnership soon with striker Bafetimbi Gomis. This season, Monk showed his tactical flexibility by having Swansea adapt from the 4-2-3-1 to 4-1-4-1 to 4-4-2 during the same match to keep opponents off-guard. Having three potent weapons to lead the Swans attack can help the team rise in the league table next season.
When asked about his decision to go to Wales, Ayew told Sky Sports “I looked left and right and I thought Swansea was the best choice for me to grow as a player. Not only football-wise but I heard about the squad, how the players live together and the team spirit. So I thought it was great to come to Swansea because I know how positive it is here.”
Ayew won’t replace Wilfried Bony as a pure goalscorer but his all-around play, strength, unselfish attitude, leadership and creativity can provide Swansea with another key player that teams will have other teams regretting that they didn’t sign him sign on a free transfer like the Swans did.
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