COMMENT By Ed Dove Follow on Twitter
Back in the summer neither Jordan nor Andre Ayew could have imagined quite how tough the 2016-17 season would become.
The former had just been relegated with Aston Villa, but after an encouraging first season in England, there was hope that he’d be able to fire the Villains back to the big time.
Clubs such as West Ham United, Olympiakos, Olympique de Marseille, Hull City and Hamburg were linked to his signature, although he ultimately remained in the Championship and began the campaign strongly, with a series of accomplished performances.
Andre moved on to bigger and better things after a fine maiden campaign in the Premier League—with Swansea City—and was signed by West Ham for a club record £20.5 million fee.
Following a promising year under Slaven Bilic and having moved to the London Stadium, the Hammers appeared destined for a big campaign, while the prospect of a reunion between Dede and former OM teammate Dimitri Payet was enough to get Irons fans salivating at the prospect.
Ultimately, of course, things didn’t work out that way for either brother, and that’s without considering a Nations Cup campaign where Ghana disappointed and slumped to a fourth-placed finish.
Jordan’s form tailed off towards the end of 2016 following Roberto Di Matteo’s departure and the arrival of Steve Bruce at Villa Park, and while Swansea rescued him from the second tier with a January transfer, he failed to make a single decisive contribution in his first six games under Paul Clement.
Indeed, coupled with Hull’s revival under Marco Silva, Jordan appeared destined for a second consecutive relegation.
For Dede, life in the big smoke brought its fair share of trouble, toil and torment.
He was injured on his debut against Chelsea—an opponent against whom he had previously enjoyed good fortune—and by the time he returned, the optimism that had enshrouded the Hammers’ ‘new beginning’ had all but evaporated.
Even up until a week or two ago, both brothers appeared destined to end the campaign in misery. Relegation was a vague threat for West Ham until recently, while Swansea have been struggling to keep pace with Hull in recent weeks.
This weekend brought victories for both clubs—two of the only three clubs in the bottom half of the table to take three points—as the Irons downed London rivals Tottenham Hotspur to secure safety (and surely all but end their rivals’ title hopes) and Swansea ended Everton’s fine run at home.
That triumph by the Swans as well as last weekend’s draw at Manchester United have taken them one point above Hull, who failed to beat Southampton and then lost at home to already-relegated Sunderland during the same time period.
All of a sudden, things are looking up, and both of the Ayews can look back on a successful few weeks where they’ve been key protagonists in their sides’ improving fortunes.
Jordan may still be waiting for his first goal at Swansea—and his first since mid-October—but he’s contributed three assists since the beginning of April, and proved an influential presence in back-to-back home wins over Stoke City and Everton.
Indeed, a berth out wide is clearly benefitting the 25-year-old, with Clement getting the most out of the forward’s creative impulses.
Jordan didn’t score in his first 36 league games in the Prem for either Villa or Swansea, he now has three in his last six outings, and, along with Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson, gives the Swans enough offensive clout to get over the line.
For Andre, recent performances ensure that he won’t be classified among the Hammers’ various transfer flops this season. The elder son of Abedi Pele has done enough in recent games to convince Irons fans he can still be the success that once was anticipated.
He has been involved in six goals in his last 11 league games—four goals and two assists—and can be the offensive figure around whom Bilic builds the East Londoners this summer.
4 - Andre Ayew has either scored or assisted in four consecutive games in Europe's big 5 leagues for the first time ever. Streak.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 18, 2017
Doubtless, it’s been a testing year for both brothers, but as the season draws to a close, the duo have hit form and are demonstrating again that they have the character and class to compete in the Premier League.
There’s optimism again around the Ayew brothers, and there’s hope for both that better times are on the horizon.