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With Benteke at Liverpool Ayew is exactly what Villa need

Aston Villa have sealed the signing of Jordan Ayew. We’ve heard a lot about the reasons why this won’t work. But he’s exactly what this club needs at a crucial time.

Jordan Ayew controls the ball during Ghana’s 2-1 loss to the United States at the 2014 World Cup.
Jordan Ayew controls the ball during Ghana’s 2-1 loss to the United States at the 2014 World Cup.
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Villa have completed the signing of a young, energetic forward, who’s coming off a season in which he scored 12 goals for his club.

And if you’re rating the move on fan reaction alone, you’d think the club just paid £40 million for a 35-year old.

Look, I’m not immune to the fact that Jordan Ayew may have his downsides. This Goal article took a really pessimistic view of the transfer, but it’s one I can’t get behind.

I think my favourite line was this one: "If anyone talks about Jordan and potential, ask if that’s really a good thing. By now, we should be seeing so much more."

What else do you want the kid to do? In his first, and only, season at Lorient, he bagged 12 Ligue 1 goals. It‘s not setting the world on fire, no, but few strikers hit more in a year.

Then there’s this one, which is a little more interesting: "Jordan’s attitude, for now at least, is a weakness, not a strength, and he’s not the man I’d personally want to call upon should my side be facing a relegation battle."

Okay, I’m intrigued. The article went to point out previous incidents of the player losing his head to get sent off, or when he called out his Lorient teammates following a 3-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain during last year’s campaign. The author, Ed Dove, asked a series of rhetorical questions, one of which was…

"Will Jordan turn his ire upon Gabby Agbonlahor should things not go well against Arsenal?"

Honestly? I’d hope so.

You have to care. Just because you’ve played a top side doesn’t mean teammates should be exempt from criticism.

But perhaps some of my favourite bits of criticism come from this column, written by Ghanian journalist Gary Al-Smith, which took a brighter view of the move. You should definitely read it.

My favourite part though of that, and in a good way, was this line: "Jordan loves to sag his shorts. His underpants are constantly on display and it annoys a lot of fans. But, as usual, he just gets on with it."

I love it. So much.

Look, one thing Aston Villa have lacked in recent memory is the edge that comes with a young, brash player who steadfastly believes in himself — even in the face of criticism and adversity.

And then there’s the fervor with which he forced the move to Aston Villa. When Lorient wanted more than his valuation for him simply because the Claret and Blues had some more cash from the sale of Christian Benteke, he held out to get his move. He wants to be here.

Two years from now? I hope he’s holding out and forcing another move, because it means he’s done his job, and the club have done their job in the player’s progression.

Ayew is the type of player who clearly wants to get to the top, and he wants to do it on his own terms. He’s sat behind Asamoah Gyan for the Black Stars, and behind his brother, André, in the spotlight for the entirety of his career.

And, of course, there’s the fee. Which, whatever it is, it’s probably fair. He’s 23 years old, and just came off a big-time year, banging in double digits. If he can repeat the feat with another 10+ goal season at B6 this year, he’ll be worth it.

Six months ago, when the club was managed by Paul Lambert, we all went around complaining about how the team was simply going through the motions, how it seemed as if nobody cared.

That edge Ayew brings? It’s a good thing for this club.

Plus, are you really going to doubt Tim Sherwood?

I didn’t think so.