AYEW FINISHED?: Dede Undergoing a Rebirth

SWANSEA, WALES - AUGUST 25: Andre Ayew of Swansea City applauds the fans at the final whistle during the Sky Bet Championship match between Swansea City and Birmingham City at the Liberty Stadium on August 25, 2019 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

It’s only been five days since Andre ‘Dede’ Ayew turned 30, but not so long ago, a rather harsh assessment of the Swansea City forward by his critics might have made him appear much older — finished, even.

Dede’s form thus far this season makes a mockery of such stinging opinions which, admittedly, were inspired by the trajectory of the player’s career in the last few years. When West Ham United broke their spending barrier in the summer of 2016 to sign Dede from Swansea, hopes were high — among Hammers and his own countrymen — regarding what was expected from the crown prince of a family rightly deemed Ghanaian footballing royalty.

But having a famous surname on his back didn’t make it easy for Dede, and the huge price tag around his neck weighed him down some more. Injuries and West Ham’s own general malaise of that period severely limited Dede’s impact, and when Swansea came back last year with another club-record bid to prise away the former Olympique Marseille man, eyebrows were raised. Still, the Jack Army felt Dede was the man to rouse them out of a relegation battle, alongside Jordan, his brother.

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That quest failed. Swansea got demoted, and the Ayews were among the first to seek the nearest exit, which they quickly found via loan moves: Dede to Turkish giant Fenerbahce, and Jordan offered a path back to the Premier League by Crystal Palace. Although neither had a particularly memorable spell away from the Liberty Stadium, Jordan’s move was made permanent while Dede had to return. The latter wasn’t received so warmly by fans of the Welsh outfit, however, as they felt he had abandoned them when the club needed him most. They were almost certain he’d leave again if the right club came — and quite a few did show interest — but Dede chose to stay and help fight Swansea’s fires.

And this term, he has been their chief fire-fighter. With eight goals in the league — another two in the League Cup — and four assists, Dede tops Swansea’s charts, as he did by the end of his first spell at the club. His earnest efforts have won Swansea points, earned him the vice-captaincy, and helped him back into the fans’ good graces. Also, it has suitors looking his way again, with the winter window around the corner.

“I’m not thinking at all about that,” Ghana’s skipper told the BBC.

“I’m happy here. If I’m here, it’s because I decided to be here. It was my decision. I’m just happy, playing my football, enjoying with the lads.”


Dede is indeed enjoying himself, almost single-handedly dragging Swansea back into the Championship’s play-off places with valuable goalscoring contributions. Saturday saw him get a late winner to settle a tight game at Luton; a brace on the previous matchday versus Middlesbrough fetched another three points and, just before that, he had netted to save a point against Blackburn Rovers.

He keeps going, even at a time when some would argue that he doesn’t deserve a place in Ghana’s national team, much less the armband handed him amid great controversy earlier this year. To such claims, Dede responds with consistently solid performances and — in the words of his manager, Steve Cooper — “showing his experience and know-how game in game out.”

Far from being finished, Dede looks — and feels — reborn.

NY Frimpong — Daily Mail GH

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