West Ham are closing in on the transfer of an exciting Premier League attacker after agreeing a fee with the club.
According to Sky Sports, West Ham have met Swansea’s £20million valuation of Andre Ayew. The versatile forward is likely to complete a move to the London club before the season starts next weekend. A week ago Sky Sports reported that Swansea were set to bid £20million and now they report that Swansea will accept that bid should Swansea secure the signing of a replacement. Swansea are eyeing Borja Baston as a potential replacement for Ayew according to Wales Online, and they have already signed Fernando Llorente.
Ayew would probably have no hesitation in signing the contract at West Ham. The location of London is an obvious draw whilst the clubs new stadium and ambitious recruitment will also be attractive to the player.
Swansea will be happy to net £20million from Ayew’s sale considering he didn’t cost them a penny just 12 months ago.
Although West Ham have been searching for a central striker, Ayew can play there quite well. WhoScored note that he scored 6 goals in 9 starts at centre forward, not a bad return at all. In total Ayew scored 12 Premier League goals and made 2 assists last season.
With the Hammers lack of quality central striking options it is possible that Ayew could be signed to play up front. So how does he compare to West Ham’s options from last season? We took a look at the stats.
Firstly I wanted to take a look at goals scored per 90. That is the main thing the Hammers were missing last season afterall. Ayew managed a very respectable 0.37, that’s very good when you consider he played many matches in wide areas. Andy Caroll tops the list on 0.56 but the other strikers are behind Ayew (Valencia – 0.35, Sakho – 0.30). There is a similar pattern when you look at shot accuracy, Carroll leads the way again with 57%, whilst Ayew is 2nd on 50%. In terms of key passes, it is Carroll who leads the way again on 1.12 per 90, Ayew is last in this area on 0.65.
The problem with Carroll is, despite his impressive statistics he struggles against the lower Premier League clubs and his consistency is troubled by injuries. West Ham fans will hope Ayew can be more consistent if he did arrive.
Is Ayew a nice middle-ground between Carroll and the more agile strikers? The statistics certainly paint that picture. Enner Valencia leads the way with successful take ons (1.33) and Carroll is last on just 0.44. Ayew managed 0.86 and he certainly has more pace than Carroll.
One area for concern is potentially Ayew’s lack of creativity. Despite playing in a wide forward role last season, Ayew managed just 2 assists in 34 games. That certainly is a worry and it is backed up by his poor key passes tally of just 0.65 per 90. Carroll uses his body and touch to create openings for others and leads the way between the four forwards in terms of key passes (1.12).
Of course statistics don’t tell the full story and we don’t know exactly how well Ayew will fit in at West Ham if he does join, but it’s clear that the player is a proven Premier League talent that certainly has the potential to improve Bilic’s starting eleven.
Bilic is likely to demand more running from Ayew who was often perceived as lazy by many Swansea fans during many games last season. West Ham fans will know though that Bilic has the potential to motivate players and get the most out of them physically.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how Bilic decides to line up next season with the likes of Feghouli and potentially Calleri and Ayew in a new look Hammers attack. Will it be enough to take them into the top four? We’d love to hear your thoughts, tweet us @FreshFootball on Twitter.