There are reasons why the sale of Andre Ayew last month looked good.
Recouping almost the entire transfer fee paid for a player, who hasn’t really delivered to the expected level, appeared good business.
But in that 18-month period transfer prices have infl ated hugely, so £18million this window compared to £20million in the summer of 2016 has a much bigger gap in real terms.
A question worth asking following Ayew’s exit surrounds the purchase of Hugill for £10million, would you rather Hugill and £10million or keep Andre Ayew? Only time will tell for that question.
On the whole I disagree with the sale, I think Ayew had more to prove and could have been given more time to do this. Ayew had other offers, so clearly waiting till the summer would have been a possibility.
I doubt the transfer fee wouldn’t have been much lower either, although Swansea perhaps paid a bit more because it was January.
Given our injury troubles and Premier League safety far from guaranteed, I think waiting on the decision would have been best for the team.
When Ayew arrived as a new club-record signing, Bilic lauded him as a special signing and labelled Ayew as the marquee signing for the new stadium.
But just 30 minutes into his first competitive start, Ayew limped off and was gone for a few months. This interrupted start was not ideal, and put a lot of pressure on Ayew. He also had to leave again for the AFCON, adding more interruption to what was an underwhelming fi rst season, in which he only scored six goals.
This season, however, he did start a little brighter. His brace against Spurs at Wembley will never be forgotten, in one of our greatest comebacks for some time.
This looked as if it could be a spark of more to come, but unfortunately was not the case.
With Bilic gone, Ayew got less and less game time under Moyes, and perhaps wasn’t seen as the same special player that Bilic saw.
I found this quite confusing, with Moyes being so insistent on work rate but this was one of Andre’s key qualities is his energy and commitment.
But as often is the case, new management do not gel with every member of the squad. It is inevitable that there will be at least a few changes in personnel.
The noticeable absence of Moyes’ name in Ayew’s farewell message, perhaps indicating that there wasn’t any love lost there.
Does Ayew really fit in with the current set up? At full strength, Moyes enjoys playing with a lot of creativity up front, in particular with Arnautovic and Lanzini in an advanced role.
With even more competition from Hernandez and Antonio, Ayew is some way down the pecking order. So being able to cash in on a player, who the management team currently deem surplus to requirements makes business sense.
I do think Ayew should have been given a bit more time; his first season was far from a success.
But this season Ayew had matched his previous goals tally already and was showcasing his talents for popping up in the right areas. His commitment cannot be doubted, and when you are fighting amongst the teams near the bottom, these qualities can prove very helpful.
It is for that reason, I believe, that giving him a full season without much interruption should have been allowed, then a decision could be made as to whether offloading him or not is a good idea.
Swansea also have to be considered in whether this is a good sale or not.
With the whole of the bottom half, if not more, being part of this season’s relegation battle, I don’t think strengthening any of the other teams around us, is a particularly good idea.
Whilst I don’t see us being relegated, strengthening Swansea may cause them to finish higher than us, which is a cost for prize money.
If relegation were to occur then this sale would be further scrutinised, hopefully it doesn’t come to that though.
This wasn’t the only reason for my surprise, perhaps my biggest cause for concern is the final size of our squad.
I thought January would be a small expansion of our squad, as opposed to a trimming of what was an already thin squad.
With departure of Oxford, Burke, Martinez, Sakho, Ayew, and now Fonte, compared to those brought in, this appears like a squad who had too many players.
But that is not the case, just a few weeks before selling Ayew we couldn’t even name a full substitutes’ bench.
The management team have often referred to the re-occurring odd situation that no senior player has to be told they don’t make the squad this week. These are dangerous times for the club.