Citi Sports’ Thierry Nyann says new Aston Villa forward Jordan Ayew has a tough job of measuring up to the standards set by some of the club’s most prolific forwards.
Members of the Ayew family were probably punching their fist in the air after their last son Jordan, was officially signed by Aston Villa on Monday. Perhaps, the most talented of his brothers as mentioned severally by his father, Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew who had an embellished club and country career.
His move to Birmingham to play for the Claret and Blue may have surprised most people in Ghana but a move as huge as that was coming. Jordan has followed the footsteps of his brother, after Andre Ayew recently moved to Swansea from boyhood club Marseille this summer.
But the boots Jordan fills at Villa Park are quite different from what his older brother fills at the Liberty Stadium. Villa fans have seen some great and prolific strikers come to the club but might not know what to expect from Jordan Ayew.
The most recent departure from that department is Christian Benteke. The big Belgian scored a whooping 42 goals in 88 appearances in all competitions for the club and you can understand why Villa fans will expect Jordan to get scoring quickly.
But what are the standards Jordan will have to meet at the club?
I look at some former and current forwards whose form Jordan will have to better or replicate:
Dwight Yorke 1989-1998
“The Smiling Assassin” was first discovered by Villa manager Graham Taylor during a pre-season tour in Trinidad and Tobago. With Yorke impressing in a game against his side, Taylor offered the 17-year-old a trial with the Midlands club. A successful trial led to a contract and the Trinidadian went on to score 73 goals in 232 appearances for Villa in a nine-year spell.
Yorke started his Villa career on the right wing but eventually moved to play in the striker’s role—something on which he thrived—establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s top forwards.
Villa fans rarely forgive any player who transfers to Manchester United—just take Ashley Young as an example—but Yorke, who signed for the Red Devils for £12.6 million in 1998, is one of the few exceptions.
Hopefully, when eventually Jordan leaves for greener pastures, he will go in the direction of Merseyside instead of Manchester.
Billy Walker 1914-1933
It’s cast in stone, Billy Walker’s place in Aston Villa history is safe.
A pre-Second World War player, Walker spent 19 years with the club. With 244 goals to his name, the striker still remains Villa’s all-time leading goal scorer despite almost half a decade passing since his death in 1964.
The forward captained both Villa and England in the 1920s and even had a stint in goal for both sides. With 12 League and FA Cup hat-tricks to his name, Billy Walker is a man that will never be forgotten by his adoring fans and Jordan will have to work extra hard to attain those heights.
Peter Withe 1980-1985
For those who have followed Aston Villa for a long while, they will remember Peter Withe for securing the winning goal—albeit off his shin via the post—in Aston Villa’s 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the European Cup Final in Rotterdam on May 26, 1982.
Withe spent five years with Villa following his £500,000 transfer from Newcastle in 1980. And in those five years, the forward notched 92 goals in 233 appearances, with 20 of those coming in a title-winning season.
To this day, no Villa player has managed even to match Withe’s record of league goals in one season.
Jordan, don’t be scared. Ghanaians are with you in prayer.
Gabriel Agbonlahor 1994-present
Gabby started his career with Villa as a schoolboy and has stated that Villa Park is where he’d like to hang up his boots. And, for that reason alone, he’s got to be on this list.
The Birmingham-born forward is a fan favorite and not simply for his prowess in the opposition penalty area. He is Villa through and through and recently surpassed Dwight Yorke—who notched 60 league goals—as Villa’s all-time highest Premier League goal scorer. Some feat.
He is blessed with bags of pace but there are questions over his consistency and goal-scoring ability.
Gabby will give his all in claret and blue, keen to prove the doubters wrong.
With a number of high-profile goals to his name that will live long in the memory of Villa fans—such as the famous winner against Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2010—none will be more memorable than Gabby’s winner against Villa’s fiercest rivals Birmingham City back in 2008.
As long as Gabby plays in this club and has a manager who believes in his ability, he’s sure to stay for life; maybe Jordan can replicate that and be a darling boy for the fans.
The big forward was signed from Genk in 2012 after scoring 19 goals for the Belgian side. His form has improved immensely after the move to Villa and contributed to 42% of the goals scored by the club since his arrival at the club three season ago.
His goal tally of 42 in 88 appearances for the ‘Villans’ is not an easy feat and Jordan should be all too aware of that.
The Barclays Premier League will welcome Jordan Ayew.
Well, except for opposition defenses especially rivals from Birmingham but Jordan will have to prepare for the battle ahead.
Over to you, Monsieur Ayew!!!
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