15th August 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
Although West Ham had to break their transfer record to secure Andre Ayew, paying a whopping £20.5 million, their acquisition of the Ghanaian international is money well spent and yet another statement of intent from the East London club ahead of the new season.
Following a successful first season in the Premier League with Swansea City, Ayew is the latest in the club's raft of new signings this summer, alongside Havard Nordtveit, Ashley Fletcher, Sofiane Feghouli, Gokhan Tore, Jonathan Calleri, Arthur Masuaku and Manuel Lanzini, who's now joined on a permanent deal. With West Ham moving into the prestigious Olympic Stadium, the club's ambition and exciting direction under Slaven Bilic was clearly crucial in his decision.
"The club have a lot of ambition and have a great manager," Ayew said.
"They want to become a bigger club every year and with the new stadium and a new training ground, you can feel they are moving onto another level and I want to be part of this project."
He then went onto explain how Bilic's desire and faith in him was another motivating factor. "He was a very big part of me joining the club," he told the club's official website.
"He is a manager who has wanted me for the past few years and today I'm lucky to play under him. Hopefully I'll be able to satisfy him. I want to give back to the manager and the fans the confidence they are showing me."
The icing on the cake for Ayew came in the form of him being reunited with his former Marseille teammate and friend, Dimitri Payet. West Ham will definitely be hoping they can replicate their form under Marcelo Bielsa in their last leason in Ligue 1, for they were nothing short of exceptional working in tandem in the 2014/15 campaign.
Ayew, a player with a terrific attacking skillset who'll be able to contribute massively to their work in the final third, is certainly a player the club expects will help take them to the next level. At 26, and in the prime of his career, Ayew will be expected to hit the ground running and make an impact from the outset.
His creativity, directness, technical qualities and physicality should ensure he's a success too, as he's a player that can hurt any side in a multiplicity of ways. The elastic limbed dribbler is capable of breezing by his opponents with his handy repertoire of tricks, jinks and body feints. While his passing acuity also sees him able to finish off his good work by spotting a teammate in the final third.
With 21 goals to his name over his last two seasons, nine with Marseille and 12 with the Swans, Ayew is a crafty, inventive finisher too, who boasts cunning instincts inside the box. Moreover, his intelligent movement in and around the 18-yard-box to find space is another somewhat unheralded feature of his game. And one that should allow him to combine, to devastating effect, with the likes of Payet and Lanzini.
To make matters worse for opponents, Ayew's a brilliant athlete, who possesses great strength, power and speed. In addition, his incredible leap and heading ability, despite his diminutive 176cm frame, only amplifies his threat. Indeed, this is an aspect of his armoury that is reminiscent of former Australia and Everton star, Tim Cahill, who stands just two centimetres taller than the Ghanaian.
All in all, Ayew's move to West Ham looks like it has all the ingredients to be a roaring success. Although he hasn't had much time to familiarise himself with his new surroundings, after a solid week of training behind him, he appears likely to start against Chelsea.
He'll head into the game full of confidence too, for he scored against the Blues on his Premier League debut with Swansea last season. Although repeating the same feat with West Ham will be tough, it would be a remarkable achievement to score on his debut against the same team for two different clubs in consecutive seasons.
What a perfect way that would be for him to kickstart life at his new home. Ayew, a player never short on confidence, will undoubtedly back himself to make this scarcely believeble accomplishment a reality.
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West Ham Sign Andre Ayew: A Great Addition to the Squad
15th August 2016. By Edward Stratmann.