Andre Ayew

Premier League Career: Swansea City (2015-2016), (2018), West Ham United (2016-2018)

Andre Ayew is currently experiencing the Turkish top-flight as he strides to move Fenerbahce away from surprising relegation danger. The Ghanaian is currently on-loan to the Turkish giants from Swansea City after his second spell with the south Welsh club ended with Premier League relegation in 2018.

Ayew has enjoyed individual success in his career. In 2011, he was crowned both BBC and Official African Footballer of the Year and comes from a footballing family. He has two brothers, who play professionally and his father was part of the Marseille squad that won the UEFA Champions League in 1993. Born in France just eight days before Christmas in 1989, Ayew actually started his youth career in Germany at 1860 Munich, which is where his father, Abedi Pele was playing at the time.

At the age of 10, he moved to Ghana to continue his education and he has since gone on to represent the senior international squad 77 times as of March 2019, scoring 14 times. His professional and European breakthrough came at Marseille, where his father had enjoyed immense success as a player. He made his senior debut for the club in 2007 and remained on their books for eight years.

During this time, he had useful season-long loan periods at Lorient and Arles-Avignon to continue his development and give him much-needed first-team playing experience. After those loan spells, it was current French international manager, Didier Deschamps who gave him his regular opportunity in the first-team at l’OM. He signed a new three-year contract on his return to Marseille in 2009, scored 11 times in 37 appearances and helped the team win the Coupe de Ligue. Ayew’s performances were widely noted, as he was voted Marseille’s Player of the Season and he was nominated for Young Player of the Year.

He then helped Marseille win the 2011 Trophee des Champions against Lille in Morocco by scoring a hat-trick. The Trophee des Champions is the equivalent of the FA Community Shield over in France. His fine form continued throughout the next few seasons and when Andre eventually left Stade Velodrome in the summer of 2015, he left with plenty of wonderful memories. In total, he scored 44 league goals in 159 appearances and scored two Ligue 1 hat-tricks.

On the international scene, Ayew has been a big player for his country. He hasn’t managed to win the African Cup of Nations yet, finishing third in 2008 and runner-up in both 2010 and 2015. His performances in the 2015 competition did see him both voted into the Team of the Tournament and finish as highest scorer in the competition with three goals. He was also part of the Ghana team that reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2010 and scored in the 2014 competition against the United States although that ended in a 2-1 defeat.

The Premier League was waiting for him and it was Swansea City who snapped him up in 2015 as his contract had run out with his previous employers Marseille. Linking up well with Bafetimbi Gomis immediately, Ayew scored in Swansea’s first two home matches of the season which saw the Swans defeat both Newcastle United and Manchester United whilst he also found the target in a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge with reigning champions Chelsea. Swansea’s form was patchy all season and they finished only in 12th position but he continued to excel. He won Player of the Month honours in August 2015 and finished with figures of 12 goals in 34 games. He was the club’s top scorer in the Premier League.

In August 2016, he transferred to West Ham United for a club-record fee of £20.5 million but his debut at Stamford Bridge didn’t last long. A thigh injury forced him off in the 35th minute and he remained out of action for the first three months of the campaign. His first of nine goals for the Hammers in his 18-month spell actually came on Boxing Day 2016 in a 4-1 victory away at former club Swansea in a game that proved to be Bob Bradley’s last as Swansea manager.

In January 2018, West Ham sold him back to Swansea despite some initial reluctance from the player. It did mean he would play alongside his brother, Jordan Ayew but he never looked like recapturing the form he’d shown in his first stint at The Liberty Stadium. He failed to score in 12 Premier League appearances and Swansea were relegated from the top-flight, virtually condemned following a 1-0 home loss to relegation rivals Southampton on the final week of the campaign.

Ayew was never likely to stay at Swansea following their drop into the Championship and in July 2018, he completed a season-long loan move to Fenerbahce. As of March 2019, he has scored six times in the Turkish League.

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