Last summer, there was only one CAF zone player at Crystal Palace stealing the headlines in the English Premier League. The man in question was Wilfred Zaha, but after potential moves to Everton and Arsenal fell through, his name faded from the British back pages.
As the English season has progressed, it is Jordan Ayew who has looked more like a potential £70m signing at times, scoring some very clinical and instinctive goals:
This strike against West Ham was Ayew’s second decisive winner of the season over the Hammers.
As always reflected by Premier League football tips from known experts ahead of Palace games, Ayew is always the Eagles’ best hope of creating the memorable attacking displays needed to keep the dream of Europa League football alive.
Significantly, going into April’s first round of Premier League fixtures, Ayew was the only player in Crystal Palace’s entire squad to have attained triple figures in the popular Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game, with his tally of 108 points after gameweek 29 thoroughly eclipsing that of fellow Palace striker Christian Benteke. By the same point, Zaha trailed Ayew with 95 points.
Though Ayew’s status as the best Palace player in those particular stakes is fuelled much by his goal-facing role, adapting to it has demanded a lot of skill. His persistence has paid off, and goals scored in consecutive matches (against Brighton and Watford) both proved to be matchwinners, meaning that five of his eight goals for Palace between August and March were decisive ones:
With a significant majority of his goals coming in the second half, Ayew has shown the ability to play to a patient system under Palace manager Roy Hodgson, which relies on wearing the opposition down rather than going for the kill immediately.
Ayew undoubtedly appears to be enjoying life at Selhurst Park, but such is football, there are always bigger, more successful clubs waiting to pounce. At 28 years old, and statistically at least as good as the once £70m-rated Zaha, Ayew could still have many suitors around Europe.
For instance, any club in his adopted home of France, with the ability to offer European football – assuming Palace cannot – offers him an alternative. PSG represents a dream destination, and despite being well stocked up front, they could still honour their history of making surprise acquisitions from the Premier League, such as Ander Herrera and Idrissa Gueye.
At this moment in time, there are no confirmed links to the bigger Premier League teams, though for logistical reasons, London giants Chelsea and Arsenal would likely be considered potential destinations in the event of a price war, with the latter having been connected with the aforementioned Zaha last summer.
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