Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest

Premier League • England

Another hammer blow for Everton as free agent target prefers Nottingham Forest, with talks ongoing

Mohammed Kudus, Andre Ayew, Ghana, celebrate a goal at the FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar

Nottingham Forest are currently negotiating a short-term contract with free agent Andre Ayew, who has also been linked with a move to Everton.

The 33-year-old is currently in Nottingham to try and finalise the deal. However, if Lewis O’Brien’s loan deal to Blackburn Rovers collapses, Forest may yet pull the plug.

That is because Steve Cooper’s side doesn’t have space for both O’Brien and Ayew in their official Premier League squad list – 25 names that must be submitted by 3pm on Thursday.

This is according to Sky Sports Newswho claim that Ayew has chosen to join the Tricky Trees instead of Everton, which comes as yet another blow to new Toffees manager Sean Dyche.

They suggest that Cooper has already decided on 24 of his 25 squad members, and though he is a ‘big admirer’ of Ayew, who he knows well from his time at Swansea, they may still have to withdraw from negotiations.

This offers a flicker of hope to Everton, who were the only Premier League club not to sign anyone in January, despite the sale of Anthony Gordon to Newcastle and the fact that they are joint-bottom of the table.

Indeed, with just three wins in their 20 opening league fixtures, it has been the Toffees’ worst start to a season in their entire history.

Forest, however, are also not out of danger yet and despite already signing a record-breaking 29 new players, Cooper is keen to get a 30th in the form of Ayew.

Forest firm favourites for Ayew, but can he still do it in the Premier League?

While the likelihood of Ayew penning a short-term deal at the City Ground grows by the minute, the clear question that remains is whether he still has the quality to have an impact on their season.

Forest currently sit in 13th place in the league table, but are still just four points above the relegation zone, so Cooper and co. still have plenty of work to do.

Across his entire career, Ayew has scored 153 goals in 527 appearances, along with 58 assists, giving him an average of 0.4 goal contributions per game.

Ayew has also spent three full seasons in the Premier League, playing for West Ham and Swansea. In his first season in the English top flight, the Ghanaian netted 12 goals in 35 league games for Swansea.

He then joined West Ham in 2015, where he netted nine times across two seasons before re-joining in 2018 Swansea, where he failed to score in 12 league appearances in the top flight.

However, his last appearance in the Premier League was five years ago. So, it remains to be seen if he can still perform at the highest level.

He did captain Ghana at the World Cup in Qatar last year, scoring one goal in three appearances. But as we all know, the Premier League is a much bigger challenge.

If the deal goes through as expected, it will be interesting to see if he makes Cooper’s starting XI for Forest’s six-pointer against Leeds on Saturday.

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