By Matt Farr
Aston Villa forward Jordan Ayew is the latest name on the Chinese Super League radar, according to a report.
The 25-year-old has scored just 10 goals for the Championship club in 58 appearances, and could be tempted into a big-money move to the far East.
The Birmingham Mail understand that Shanghai SIPG have already registered an interest in signing Ayew, while there are said to be several other interested parties.
Shanghai are managed by former Premier League boss Andre Villas-Boas, and have already raided England once this month to land Chelsea and Brazil playmaker Oscar for an Asian transfer record £60million.
Chinese clubs have made a series of mega-money signings recently, including Carlos Tevez, Hulk and Axel Witsel.
Ayew, who has been capped 37 times by Ghana, joined Villa for a fee of £10million in 2015, and was a member of the side that finished bottom of the Premier League last term.
Their demotion to England’s second-tier forced Ayew into taking a pay-cut, and the opportunity of a mega-money deal in China could interest him.
He is currently on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations, but Villa could be prepared to let him leave this month, although it is said they will only entertain offers over £10million, as Steve Bruce does not view him as a regular first-team player.
He was a first-team regular under previous boss Roberto Di Matteo, who was dismissed from his post in October, and since then, Bruce has preferred the likes of Jonathan Kodjia and Gabriel Agbonlahor in his place.
Bruce remains keen to add a goalscorer to his ranks following the departure of Rudy Gestede to Middlesbrough last week, but regardless of a deal, Ayew could still find himself on the way out.
Football Insider verdict
Given his absence at AFCON, Ayew’s departure would have little bearing on Aston Villa’s current goalscorer crisis. Bruce is short of options with Jonathan Kodjia also at AFCON, while Rudy Gestede left for Middlesbrough last week. Bruce needs a new striker asap, but the question remains whether Bruce looks to bring one in to replace Gestede, or one that can replace both Gestede and Ayew. A Chinese offer has tempted many of the world’s biggest stars to make the switch to the far East, and the trend is expected to continue with Ayew. He hasn’t quite fired to the English club since arriving from Lorient, and if offered the right price, Villa could cash in on him. They could then use the funds to submit towards that new striker, or in their attempts to land other priority targets – such as Stewart Downing.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, Bruce should sign this prolific wide-man in January.