Opinion: Jordan Ayew is the bargain of the season
Photo by Sebastian Frej / MB Media 

Signed last season on loan from Swansea City, Jordan Ayew was not the Crystal Palace cult hero he is today. His first twelve months in South East London were hardly anything to write home about. 

He managed a grand total of two goals for the Eagles in the 2018/2019 campaign, and was a bit part player for much of the season with Christian Benteke favoured up top on his own, or a two upfront of Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha

Many Palace fans thought that once the loan had concluded, Ayew would not be coming back after a less than scintillating season. However his bit part performances had impressed Roy Hodgson and the Palace hierarchy. 

He put pen to paper on a three year deal early on in the window. The initial fee was reported to be around £2.5 million, with add-ons based on performances.

The summer window

The board failed to strengthen the squad in the summer, especially after selling academy starlet Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United for an estimated £50 million.  

The summer also saw lots of speculation regarding the future of Wilfried Zaha, with links to Everton and top teams in Europe sniffing around the Ivory Coast international.

This allowed Ayew a chance to really stake his claim to be a regular starter in Roy Hodgson's side, with Palace crying out for some form of an outlet in the early part of the season. The forward capped fifty-eight times by Ghana provided the much needed spark for the Eagles. 

His performances really strengthened Ayew's cause, endearing him to the Palace faithful. He helped secure the club's first win at Old Trafford in the Premier League, in a 2-1 away win for Palace against Manchester United.

He followed this up with the only goal of the game as Palace beat Aston Villa 1-0. This goal summed up Ayew's contribution for the team, as his solo effort was all down to his hard work and determination to fight off the Villa defence and slot it expertly around Tom Heaton.   

The importance of his goals

It has not been the amount of goals that Ayew has scored that has made him  popular figure around the club, but more the importance of his goals.

He has won Palace 12 points this season just through his goal contribution alone, thus coming close to breaking Andy Johnson's  record in 2004/05 of 15 points won via goal contributions that season in the battle to keep Palace from avoiding the drop.

He is in hot pursuit of the club record, and with ten games left to play, he is fully expected to overtake Andy Johnson and write his own piece of Palace history.

On Boxing Day, it was a bit of Jordan Ayew magic that sealed three points for the Eagles. He spun the West Ham defence to wriggle through and calmly dinked Roberto to score what will almost certainly be a Crystal Palace goal of the season.  

Ayew's work off the ball has also put him above Andros Townsend in the pecking order, who since his injury, has struggled to find his way back into Hodgeson's consideration for a starting place.

His performances this Season have left him undroppable; he has now found a new home on the wing where his tireless running and defensive support has really come to fruition in recent fixtures. 

From Crystal Palace who have only scored twenty-five Premier League goals this season, Ayew's goal contribution for only £2.5 million has been a major factor in getting the Club where it is in the table. 

Furthermore, this is the club's best point return at this stage since promotion back to the Premier League, and Jordan's sublime season is a big factor in this. 

The striker problems at Palace

It seems to be a common occurrence under Hodgson that goalscoring has been our main problem, with Alexander Sorloth struggling to find any sort of form at all at the Club.  

In addition, Connor Wickham has never really been the same player after a series of unfortunate injuries, and club record-signing Christian Benteke has struggled in front of goal, however the Belgian international has been putting in good performances in recent weeks and his team contribution makes up for the lack of goals.

Another headache for Palace in the striking department may now be that winter loan signing, Cenk Tosun, may miss the rest of the Season due to a knee injury suffered in training this week. This will also hinder his chances of making the Turkey Euro 2020 Squad.

What will next summer mean for Ayew?

With a summer clearout expected at Selhurst Park, there will be a number of new faces expected next season. 

Wilfried Zaha is highly likely to leave and Palace will look to reinvest to bolster the attack.

There is also an urgency to bring the average age of the squad down dramatically after failing to do so in previous windows.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Ayew next season, after arguably being player of the season this year. The outlook Hodgeson may take on the squad, once he has money to spend, might see Ayew's game time limited once again. 

There is also the query over what Palace will do about Michy Batshuayi. The striker enjoyed a successful loan spell last season and seemed to be trusted by Hodgeson. The striker seems surplus to requirements at Chelsea and there could be a deal involving Zaha that would satisfy both parties. But this will all be resolved in the summer.

Since Hodgeson became manager in 2017, he has been deprived of significant funds, and has had to build a team consisting mainly of free transfers and loan signings.

However, for now, Jordan Ayew's name will be sung proudly by the Palace fans, as his hard work and goal scoring attributes have been greatly appreciated by everyone connected with the club, and of course, any player who scores against Brighton will always be immortalised in Palace folk law.

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