Andre Ayew is on the brink of signing for Swansea according to widespread reports, which would make him the latest player where the Welsh club has outbid Newcastle United.
The Marseille winger is out of contract at the end of June and available on a Bosman free, yet recent days saw journalists close to Newcastle United running the story that the club didn’t think he represented ‘value for money’.
The implication clearly being that the wages Andre Ayew would command/demand as a free transfer, were too rich for Mike Ashley’s tastes.
There appears little doubt that in this case Newcastle were seriously interested in the winger and had been continuously linked with the 25 year old for a long time, as his contract became ever closer to ending.
Ayew flew into Wales on Tuesday for talks and a medical is expected today, providing there are no sticking points.
Even if Swansea ended up not picking up Andre Ayew, with transfer discussions becoming ever more multi-layered these days, they have clearly shown the ambition to try and land a player who looks a great prospect for pretty much any Premier League club.
No wonder Swansea are keen to pay the price for the Ghanaian star, a record of 44 goals in 141 Ligue 1 starts over the last 5 years is impressive, as is the countless assists he has chalked up as well. Ayew has scored 60 goals in a total of 177 starts in all competitions in those last five years at Marseille, plus has played Champions League football in four of the five.
Swansea are rapidly becoming the club that Newcastle fans wish their club was, a club who are trying to make the very best of what they have got. Owned 20% by the supporters, Swansea play great intelligent football, have won the League Cup, and their eighth place finish last season shows how they are progressing and building their club.
Despite crowds of around 20,000 compared to Newcastle’s 50,000.
Despite Newcastle United having tens of millions more cash coming in each season, Newcastle can’t compete with a club such as Swansea.
Last season Swansea’s turnover was £98.7m compared to Newcastle’s £129.7m – fully £31m less going into the Welsh club. Plus of course this doesn’t even take into account all the extra money Newcastle could be generating if they tried to pull in all the commercial deals that they are capable of doing, as well as the lost money via all the free advertising/promotion the rest of Mike Ashley’s empire gets.
When Swansea released their financial figures for that 2013/14 season, they revealed that as well as investing heavily but intelligently in the playing squad, they had spent £6.9m on improving the training facilities, as well as pushing ahead with plans to create a bigger stadium capacity.
At the time Swansea’s finance director, Don Keefe, said:
“The board continued to invest in the playing squad during the accounting period to maintain performance standards with notable acquisitions being Wilfried Bony and Jonjo Shelvey.”
Bony is yet another player that Newcastle were heavily linked with after scoring a bucket load of goals in Holland but Ashley wasn’t prepared to meet the £11m transfer fee in summer 2013. A contributing factor in the sorry NUFC tale that Ashley has still failed to replace Demba Ba some two and a half years after he left St James Park.
Swansea paid the price tag on Bony and that £11m investment brought them 26 goals in 43 Premier League starts, before Manchester City handed them £28m and a massive profit…part of which looks to be going to be invested in Andre Ayew.
A year ago another long distance Newcastle United transfer fiasco came to a rotten end. Bafetimbi Gomis was seen as a done deal for a long long time, only for Mike Ashley to once again refuse to meet the wage demands of the striker, Swansea yet again the club to step in and pay what was necessary.
Some Newcastle fans took satifaction when Gomis struggled for games and goals initially but the long-term strategy for Swansea once again came up trumps.
The Welsh club were able to sell Bony for that massive profit, largely because they had Gomis waiting for his chance to be a regular starter, rather than regular substitute.
Once he got a proper chance, Bafetimbi Gomis started showing his class and scored a total of 7 goals from only 18 Premier League starts, most tellingly though he scored five goals in his last five matches, suggesting he will be a real force this coming season having bedded in and got his chance.
When you contrast this to the hand to mouth existence at Newcastle you can only shake your head. A club owner who thinks he is being clever not buying a single player over the course of three transfer windows, in the short-term ‘saving’ money but in reality just storing up massive problems for a later date.
This was shown last summer when a squad that was short on both numbers and quality, did then see an investment allowed by Mike Ashley, but the mainly budget buys from abroad failed to cover all the holes and led directly to a near fatal relegation.
If a free transfer such as Andre Ayew doesn’t represent value for money to Mike Ashley, then we await with interest to see exactly what kind of jewels are going to be laid before us with this summer’s transfer dealings.
Last season Swansea were seven league placings and 17 points better than Newcastle United.
At this moment in time it is difficult to have confidence in Newcastle closing that gap, never mind overtaking the Welsh club.
I really hope Mike Ashley surprises us all and makes good on his end of season interview.
It is now 21 days until pre season traing begins and 59 days until the Premier League season kicks off.