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Sports News of Friday, 10 August 2018

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Jordan Ayew eager to impress at Crystal Palace

Jordan Ayew says he is looking forward to a good season with Crystal Palace and wants to settle down quickly to help Eagles cement their place in the Premiership, as well as continue his development as a player.

Moments after completing a season-long loan move to Selhurst Park from Championship side Swansea on Thursday, the Ghana international said he was bracing for another challenge in the Premiership because it had always been his objective to play in the English topflight.

“I chose to come to Palace to continue improving. It’s a step up for me and I’m ready for the challenge and to get to where I think I can get to.”

“I am very pleased to be here. It’s been a long transfer window but finally I got a move. The important thing for me now is to get fit and to be in good shape, and I know the manager wants to use me up front and make things happen,” Ayew told Palace TV after sealing the season-long loan deal before the transfer deadline.

After suffering relegation with Swansea last season, Ayew appeared not ready to settle for Championship football and even boycotted training on Wednesday presumably to push through a move to Palace. The London side earlier had a £7m bid rejected for the former Aston Villa forward as Swansea had hoped to raise £12m by selling their top marksman.

Ayew, 26, boasts plenty of Premiership experience having played for Villa and Swansea during the last four seasons, and was named the Swans’ Players’ Player of the Season last season after ending the campaign with 11 goals to his name, including strikes home and away against Palace.

Now he is ready to seize the opportunity to impress Palace manager, Roy Hodgson, and the Eagles fans.

“I am looking forward to playing with the boys and meeting the fans, and hopefully it’ll be a good season,” he said.

Ayew will be in good company at Selhurst Park where he reunites with his Black Stars teammate, Jeffrey Schlupp, whom he said had given him a good impression about Palace.

“Jeffrey Schlupp has always been positive about Crystal Palace and I was just curious [to know about the club]; today I find myself here and I’m very happy,” he acknowledged.

Despite being positive about the season and the weight of expectation, Ayew is not going to put undue pressure on himself ahead of the season.

“I don’t set personal targets for myself because the sly is the limit. The most important thing that the team wins and we stay in the top 12 and we have a good season.”

Ayew began his career with French giants Olympique Marseille and was a part of the squad that won the Ligue 1 title in 2010, as well as three successive League Cups. He also had spells with Sochaux and Lorient before arriving in England at Villa in 2015.

A chip off the old block, he is the youngest of a famous family of footballers. Last season he played alongside his elder brother, Andre who was loaned by the Swans to Turkish side, Fenerbahce, early this month.

The son of Ghana legend Abedi Pele Ayew, a three-time African best footballer, the Palace star made his international debut in 2010 and has represented his country at three Africa Cup of Nations, as well as the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

He has scored 11 goals in 49 appearances for Ghana.