Big Sam's odds of becoming the next England manager are getting shorter by the day.
My reaction to this is exactly how you'd imagine a five year old child to react when he's been ordered to tidy his room. I'm sticking my fingers in my ears and saying "Lalalalala" until this whole nonsense blows over. The only thing to do is pretend that there isn't a chance this will happen.
That said... there is a real chance that it will happen. And if it does, it will be the most Sunderland thing ever. More Sunderland than Billy Jones, Lilian Laslandes, and Tyson Nunez falling over each other’s feet in a big bucket of pease pudding. With Big Sam at the helm, we would finally have a realistic chance of winning a game in August or September. Dreaming even bigger: we could actually finish higher than sixteenth. This is why I’m doing my best to ignore the growing speculation that he is the front-runner for the job.
With that in mind, I wanted to make a case for why Andre Ayew should be our number one transfer target this summer. I've already written about why I think a new right back, an attack minded central midfielder, and a wide forward should be our priorities. Now is the time to sharpen that focus and pinpoint a name.
Andre Ayew is a brilliant player. He joined Swansea from Marseille last summer and he took to the Premier League like a duck to water. He excelled for the Swans during his debut season, ending the campaign as the club's top scorer with twelve goals, as well as contributing two assists. Fitting the Big Sam mould for a wide forward, he also contributed defensively. For instance, he made an impressive 1.8 tackles per game last season.
A forward three consisting of Ayew, Khazri, and Defoe would be the closest we have got to replicating Bent, Welbeck, and Gyan. It would be a forward line full of movement, trickery, and – most importantly – goals. When you compare Ayew with Borini, the man he would most likely replace in the starting eleven, the goal record speaks for itself. Last season, Borini managed two goals from fourteen appearances when he started right wing. Ayew managed five goals from one fewer game in that same position. As well as six goals from fifteen appearances as a number nine.
Ayew and his agent are making it very clear he is ready to move on from Swansea after just one season. Admittedly, they are also both courting Champions League clubs in the hopes he can land a dream move. I suspect that if Big Sam stays on, this is a transfer saga that will run and run. Sam Allardyce made it very clear that he wanted Ayew back in January and seems happy to pursue the Ghanaian forward at all costs. It may not be the dream signing for Ayew’s agent, but it would be a dream signing for us.
Having said all that, I would swap us signing Andre Ayew for Big Sam staying on. And I would do it in a heartbeat. In fact, I would be happy with a summer of zero transfers if it meant Big Sam (and Kirchhoff) signing a new contract. As much as I would love us to sign a player of Ayew’s calibre, we’ve already seen the impact having a good manager can have on squad confidence and performance.