Swansea’s first signing of the summer has been announced already – the free transfer of Marseille’s Andre Ayew.
This summer the Mediterranean club are set to haemorrhage somewhat as big name players come of the end of lucrative contracts, and the Ligue 1 outfit can’t afford to renew.
So Swansea are getting a good player from a good club, and one who will fit in nicely with what Garry Monk is trying to do. Ayew is quick, he’s agile and carries a big attacking threat. Exactly what Swansea were looking for.
Some sage advice for most people is to get their Christmas shopping done early. The footballing equivalent is the summer transfer window. It’s easier to get players in the summer than in January, but everyone is scrambling around to get the best deals and attract the best players. The best bit of business done by Swansea in this transfer was not attracting a player like Ayew to South Wales, but it was getting it signed, sealed and delivered before the transfer window even opened in earnest.
Pretty much everything I have ever written about Swansea has been positive and this signing is a good example of why. It’s because the club seems so well run, so well structured and because they seem to go about their business with minimal fuss and fanfare. Swansea are quietly brilliant.
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There’s a surprising element about the Ayew deal, his wages are a reported £60,000 per week and added fees in the ‘free’ transfer are said to amount to £2m. It’s almost surprising that Swansea are able to afford a player of this quality. Obviously there’s a lot of money in the Premier League, but it still shows how well the club is run.
Ayew is also a player who has played in Champions League and World Cup campaigns and who would perhaps have preferred a higher prestige move – Roma was touted as a potential destination. Perhaps Roma were never interested, but the paper talk does at least show the kind of player we’re dealing with here.
Swansea possesses a certain attractiveness at the moment – not a Johnny Depp gorgeousness, more of an Elijah Wood: there’s just something about him that women go for, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Swansea have that just now, and my guess is that the aura of beauty exuded by the club comes from how quietly successful they are.
Ayew, for his part, says that it was Garry Monk and the chairman who persuaded him to sign, owing to their confidence in him. But you get the feeling he was enamoured at how the club was progressing too.
The style of play at Swansea is another reason. We think of Swansea as a passing team, and they are, but they have a direct edge too. Under Laudrup, Swansea would pass and pass around the final third. Towards the end of the Dane’s reign Swansea had been sussed out by other clubs and it was time for a change.
Monk has carried on the passing philosophy, but his team’s ability to go direct, to combine the passing ability of players like Sigurdsson with the pace and power of guys like Bafetimbi Gomis and Nathan Dyer. Ayew fits right into this mould, and more speed and explosivity are definitely a good thing for the Swans. They can still win a game by out passing the opposition, but they have the option of getting the ball in behind the defence too.
The Ayew signing is a signal of intent from the Welsh club, they’re progressing nicely and they intend to maintain that. The club has evolved from a lower league side into a Premier League side with a stadium to match, and it’s continuing to evolve. The team has evolved from an attractive, passing side into a team with more of an edge, and the Swans are still adding to the ranks at the Liberty Stadium.
It won’t be long before they evolve into a team challenging for Europe season after season. No longer the ugly ducklings, now they really are swans!