Andre Ayew Sheffield United: The pros and cons amid ex-Nottingham Forest man transfer links

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Former Swansea man a free agent after leaving Forest in summer

Andre Ayew is understood to be holding out for a move to one of Europe’s top-five leagues amid interest from Saudi Arabia and Turkey this summer. The Ghana captain has been linked with a short-term deal at Sheffield United as the Blades look for more firepower up front to aid their Premier League survival bid.

Ayew, 33, spent time last season at Nottingham Forest but failed to score in 305 minutes of action for Steve Cooper’s side. Ayew worked with Cooper at Swansea and had no issues with him at Forest, describing him as a “brilliant professional.” If reports of United’s interest are true, then Ayew’s lack of pre-season - meaning he will take time to get up to speed and in any sort of condition to help the Blades’ survival bid - and the cost involved would have to be taken into account.

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Ayew has netted 21 Premier League goals in his career - more than double the combined tally of United’s other forwards - from his 102 appearances for Swansea, West Ham and Forest, with his tally of 12 in 34 games for the Swans in 2015/16 his best return. United are understood to be open to the possibility of adding a free agent to their ranks if the right player comes up - with goalkeeper Jed Steer also linked recently - but will have learned from the signing of Tom Davies, who is undergoing a condensed pre-season campaign during the season as he waits for his Blades debut almost a month after arriving.

Speaking after Davies’ signing, boss Paul Heckingbottom was asked about the possibility of more free agents arriving. “Where we’re looking at the minute there aren’t too many frees,” he said back then. “Generally a lot of players are free for a reason, Tom had the opportunity to stay so he wanted to leave for his football career and to experience something new which is great for us. I can’t see it. I’m not ruling it out but as it stands right now, I probably can’t see there being another free transfer.”

At that point, however, there were two weeks or so left of the transfer market and from that point United signed Cameron Archer and James McAtee to bolster their forward options, with Oli McBurnie also returning to the fold after a period on the sidelines. Heckingbottom is understood to have targeted another striker, with Bournemouth striker Keiffer Moore a player of interest, but McAtee became United’s 10th and final signing of the summer transfer window.

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As ever with these sorts of short-term deals, it becomes a matter of risk-v-reward and what compromises can be achieved. Will the manager sign a player who, realistically, may not be up to speed until almost November, and will the ownership sanction a short-term deal for a 33-year-old striker when the direction of the club has shifted towards younger players with potential to improve, and/or make the club money?

Experience tells you to never say never in football. There is clearly a player in Ayew and the motivation of what could surely be a last crack at the Premier League could be a powerful thing.

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