There won’t be many Premier League peers plotting a wreck raid when the good ship Aston Villa finally sinks, but there’s one standout piece of cargo worth renting the diving gear for.
Statistically speaking, Jordan Ayew has acquitted himself relatively well this season as he and his teammates stumbled from one disaster to the next.
Six goals scored accounts for just over 25% of the Villans Premier League strikes for 2015/16. Having mustered this total from just 50 attempts, he scores once for approximately every eight shots taken. The division’s top scorer Harry Kane has a comparable strike rate, notching once every six shots.
But it’s not accuracy that will make Ayew a good signing, it’s his ability to link play in the final third.
For a team with a potentially-prolific striker in the ranks who has been starved of service – West Bromwich Albion have mustered just 308 attempts this term, whereas Stoke City and Watford have 362 and 364 respectively – the Ghanaian would make a handy addition.
Only six forwards have managed more touches of the ball in the opposition half than Ayew’s 1003, with all of those to surpass him making more appearances. Three of these – Anthony Martial, Graziano Pelle and Troy Deeney – are not lauded poachers, but revered partners for deadlier marksmen.
Of all the line-leaders in the top-flight to play in 20 matches or more, only Leicester City’s Leonardo Ulloa has a superior minutes-per-touch rate than his 1.5.
When examining his output upon receiving possession, only seven frontmen have completed more passes this season, with his accuracy rate of 81.5% inferior to only four contemporaries to feature in more than 20 top-tier matches.
Looking specifically at passes in the final third, Sergio Aguero is the only 20+-appearance striker with a completion percentage better than Ayew’s 83.4%.
However, for all his teammate-locating prowess, the 24-year-old has made precisely zero assists this term, though the volume of passes with which he picks out colleagues suggests it’s those he is giving the ball to at fault.
Were Ayew lining up alongside superior strikers to those he is paired with at present, his paltry set-up stats would soar, while the six goals he has scored in such a substandard side indicates he would do significant scoring damage if afforded better service.