What happened to all the other links to the player that we had been hearing the last fortnight?
These were but a few questions posed when the news of André ‘Dede’ Ayew signing for the Welsh team came through.
Hear him after his signing for the Swans: “I am very happy to sign for Swansea which is a very good club in the Premiership. I spent so many years in the Youth team at Marseille before moving to the first team. It was a difficult moment for me to leave [Olympique Marseille] and make a decision but with time and growing up, I thought maybe it was time to go where I dreamt and always wanted to play.”
“It was time for me to move on. Honestly, it is true that I had a lot of offers and stuffs so I needed to take my time and make the right decision for my future. I don’t want to jump the steps. I want to take it step by step.”
“For me, with the desire to play in the Premiership and wanting to grow as a player and to become a better player, I think that Swansea was the best solution for me in every way and the project that the club has for the future. When I spoke to [Swansea] coach [Garry Monk] and the chairman [Huw Jenkins], I felt that this was the right way for me to go.”
Sounds logical from a player of Andrés stature: big game player with a big game experience, widely travelled and a proven winner.
He definitely knows what he’s talking about.
He has not been a one club man though, despite being on the books of Marseille since 2005. Not to take anything away from the lad, but Abedi Ayew Snr’s connections with the club where he was instrumental in their Champion’s League win in 1993 meant Dede’s transition to the south of France from FC Nania was going to be smooth.
But still, it had to take blood, sweat and tears for the young man to make the grade at the Velodrome. Loan moves to Lorient and Arles Avignon was only to toughen him up and make him a better player.
Sterling performances at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt, where he skippered Ghana to gold in 2009, coupled with a very good showing with the senior at the 2010 Afcon sent him on his way.
The World Cup in South Africa later that year simply enhanced his reputation, and he’s only become better in the last five years.
England’s lure too strong
But in the face of his acceleration in the sport, there was a challenge.
The lure of playing in the Premiership was playing on his mind.
He had been in France for ten years and won a decent number of silverware: two League Cups in 2011 and 2012, two Trophées des Champions (Super Cups) in 2010 and 2011. And to top that, he was playing for the biggest club in France at a venue where average attendances exceeded 50,000.
But somehow, this big club that gave him regular playing time was not enough. Dede needed European football and even more wages.
Upgrade or downgrade?
He allowed his contract to run down under Marcelo Bielsa and has now opted to sign for a club that was only good enough for eighth in the Premier league. And Swansea is a side who only joined the elite of English football only four years ago.
He would play in front of 20,759 fans at the Liberty Stadium when it’s full in South Wales and his mates would be “stars” like Welsh skipper Ashley Williams, Bafetembi Gomis, Jonjo Shelvey, Ki Sung Yueng and Nathan Dyer.
Not good enough quality by any imagination.
At last season’s Swansea end of season awards, Jenkins spoke at length about improving the squad with quality players to challenge for honors.
But the reality is that one only has to look at the gulf in class between the top six and you’ve to say that their biggest chances of winning laurels can only be in cup competitions, like they did with the Capital One Cup two years ago.
Swansea do not play the most exciting brand of football and it would take something special from the deputy Ghanaian skipper to push them beyond eighth next season.
It’s been said that the quality around you often pushes individuals to new heights in their field of work, but I’m not too sure about that at Swansea.
Look at Wilfred Bony, who was smart enough to jump ship when City came calling. He was going to a club where there was that opportunity to further develop, earn huge wages, play alongside some of the biggest names in the sport and win trophies.
That’s what it is for people of ambition. And I refuse to be convinced that Ayew would be at the Liberty Stadium all four years of his contract. He would not kid anyone with that kind of talk.
Dede has always craved a top Premiership club, and it’s only seasons away, I reckon. At 25, he’s in his prime and could even be around at the high level for another six to seven seasons.
It makes this decision even more intriguing one.
The jury would definitely be on the lookout when he makes his competitive debut for the Swans in August. Meantime, the popularity of Dede’s move means should Jenkins would be smart enough, he could make a healthy return on investment if Swansea open a club shop in Accra!
André Ayew, the son of the maestro, we’d be cheering you on. Make us proud in the Swans kit and don’t hesitate to jump ship when the big boys come calling.
You don’t need to tell us that is what you really want.
Kwame Dwomoh-Agyemang is a Joy Sports producer. Follow him on Twitter: @DwomohKwame
Story by Ghana/Joy Sports/Kwame Dwomoh-Agyemang
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