Aston Villa complete £12m deal for Ghana striker

Aston Villa have completed the signing of Jordan Ayew, who will be tasked with filling a Christian Benteke shaped hole in their attack.

Belgium international Benteke has been the star man for the Midlands giants ever since he arrived from Genk three years ago, but he has kicked his last ball for the club after Liverpool met his £32.5million release clause to sign him earlier this month. This has left Tim Sherwood searching for a replacement striker, and it hasn’t taken him too long to land his man.

It was reported last week that Villa had set their sights on a deal for Ayew, who scored 12 goals in 26 league appearances for Lorient last season. And Sherwood has now completed a reported £12million deal for the 23-year-old, who passed his medical at Bodymoor Heath on Monday before putting pen to paper on a contract designed to keep him at the club for five years.

“When I spoke to the coach I knew this was the place for me,” Ayew told the official club website. “It took 10 seconds to work out he was the right coach for me and Aston Villa was the right team. I am the happiest man in the world. It’s one of my greatest days in football. My dream was to play for a big team in England – and Aston Villa is undoubtedly one of the greats in English football.”

Ayew joins fellow former Ligue 1 players Jordan Amavi and Idrissa Gueye in Sherwood’s squad this summer, and he could face his brother Andre who joined Swansea City last month. He began his career at Marseille but scored just 14 goals in 111 league appearances, and also had a loan spell at Sochaux before joining Lorient. For Ghana, he has eight goals from 28 caps.

It also appears as though Villa are closing on a deal for Jose Angel Crespo. The 28-year-old, who played against Bolton Wanderers in a UEFA Cup tie for Sevilla almost a decade ago, can play in either fullback role. Last season he was part of the Cordoba side which were relegated from La Liga, yet many believe he was their standout performer.

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