JORDAN Ayew has cut such a frustrated figure during his 18 months with Aston Villa that the time is probably right to move on.
Swansea City landed the Ghanaian by offering £5million plus Wales left-back Neil Taylor as a makeweight.
The transfer looks a fair deal considering Ayew’s recent performance levels but, just like Ayew himself, it’s an irksome one to take because there’s a real player in there who can, on his day, torment and tantalise defenders.
This season, though, the 25-year-old has looked badly out of sorts with his last goal in claret and blue coming back in October when he scored an injury penalty in the victory over Reading – Villa’s first away win in 437 days.
Ayew has chalked up four assists and two goals in the Championship this season. He’d had hoped for a bit more in the 17 starts he made.
The ex-Marseille man has also played 63 more minutes than Jack Grealish and a staggering 262 more than Ross ‘my gates are locked’ McCormack. Both Grealish and McCormack, meanwhile, have bagged three goals each compared to Ayew’s two. Although, ultimately all three players have underperformed.
A real bugbear in B6 this season has been Ayew’s lack of willingness, which has been like chalk and cheese compared to the last campaign (something to do with his wages being halved in the Championship?).
The striker was one of Villa’s best performers under Remi Garde’s ill-fated reign, which is saying something, but he gave his absolute all for the cause despite Villa being second best week in, week out.
Ayew would chase lost causes, bang in the odd screamer – like the one at St James’s Park against Newcastle – and even throw his weight about to make sure defenders he was up against wouldn’t have an easy time of it despite sides knowing that they were playing a hapless Villa outfit.
He netted seven times in 30 appearances (27 starts) during the club’s relegation season. He was arguably the only one who gave a flying which makes his behaviour, performances and demeanour this season look rather odd.
The forward forced through a move to Villa Park from former club Lorient, cheesily making a heart shape with his hands in front of the club’s crest when he was officially unveiled at Bodymoor Heath.
What Went Wrong?
But why hasn’t it worked out, especially this season? Well, it could be down to Ayew playing here there and everywhere in the Championship. Whether it’s out wide, behind the front man or as the sole striker, it just hasn’t worked.
Ayew’s dip in form is arguably down to his own success. He’s versatile and can play both centrally and out wide – a trait that has attracted Swansea boss Paul Clement.
Last season, for example, the Ghana star was Villa’s main man, having either Grealish or Carles Gil floating in and around him. When playing in a two with Rudy Gestede, though, Ayew would then turn supplier. It wasn’t very effective as supporters well and truly know but Ayew was the shining light in a poor Villa side.
The claret and blue faithful expected much, much more this season. Tony Xia made a big point of maintaining his services for this season and MOMS for one expected Ayew to rip it up in the second tier. He hasn’t and he’s off to do what he did last season: fight against relegation.
Follow Ash on Twitter – @Ashley_Preece
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