Andre Ayew — a chip off the old block, eh?
For all the talk about Andre following in his dad’s footsteps since the beginning of his pro career some 14 years ago, he has only thus far played in one country — and at one club — where the older Ayew, Abedi, plied his trade.
That was with France’s Olympique Marseille, at the very start, but Andre is now moving to another club — in another country — where his famous father once played.
Not many hours ago, news broke that the Ghana captain has agreed a deal with Qatari club Al Sadd, for whom Abedi — at a much younger age — once played for. It was actually the first foreign side whose shirt Abedi pulled on, before going on to Europe and to greater things.
Andre, then, has flipped the script, joining Al Zaeem as he moves into the twilight of his own career.
There was always the prospect of remaining in Europe — no shortage of suitors, surely, for a player still so highly-rated — following his departure from Swansea City, on the heels of his inability to drag the Welsh outfit back to the Premier League on a second attempt.
At 31 (32 by the end of the year), though, Andre could be pardoned for seeking the one thing that most footballers his age look out for when deciding how to play out their final days on a football pitch: a big pay-check.
For Andre, that jackpot is pegged at a reportedly tax-free $220,000-per-month. But he’d have to earn every cent of that, as Al Sadd, managed by former Barcelona midfielder — and future Barcelona manager? — Xavi Hernandez, play some of the best football anywhere in Asia, and Andre better have the desire and intensity for it.
Desire? Intensity? 🤷♂️
Well, what was I thinking? 🤦♂️
Andre has never lacked those, even as age has noticeably sapped some of the energy of his younger years. His zeal remains intact, making him an asset in any dressing room. Xavi — who also has former international teammate Santi Cazorla and 2019 Afcon winner Baghdad Bounedjah on the roster — would find, in Andre, a willing worker, elder statesman, and a forward perfectly capable of boosting the team’s goalscoring numbers.
Andre would be familiar with some of his new teammates, seven of whom he sparkled against when Ghana thrashed Qatar 5-1 in a friendly match in October last year; this time, he’ll do his best to have a more positive effect on their mood.
But it isn’t just Al Sadd, Qatar’s record and reigning champions (also the country’s most dominant side across all competitions), that could use a reasonably big name. The Middle Eastern country itself wouldn’t mind having as many of those as possible right now, as it continues to build a strong footballing profile ahead of hosting next year’s Fifa World Cup.
It’s a tournament at which Ayew — brilliant for his country at all two editions of the Mundial he has featured at (2010, 2014) and still the only African captain ever to lift the U-20 Fifa World Cup — would love to appear, possibly as the final act of an impressive international career.
Ghana’s qualification quest to reach that World Cup starts in — *flips through calendar* — September, and if the Black Stars are able to get through a pool that also includes South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, a final two-legged play-off tie would be all that stands between them and a ticket to Qatar.
Their skipper, before that time is even due, is already on his way.
Yaw Frimpong — Ink & Kicks