In an interview given this evening to RMC, Swansea’s attacking midfielder André Ayew explained why he left Marseille this summer and discussed his transformation into a Premier League player more generally.
How are you feeling at Swansea?
I am a happy man. Things are going well, I like the town a lot, the fans, the club. I am very happy over there. Recently, we could have had better results, but it is ok, I am very happy. At the moment, things are going quite well for me. I hope that it will continue like that and also to bring us more victories because I think that we are not in the place we deserve. We just need to continue to work and to not be worried about playing our game. We are a team that plays and sometimes we pay for that. But when it works, we win points.
What do you think about the level of the Premier League?
It is a very good level. It is something else, a different mentality, a different way of playing. Lots of things have changed compared to France. Football is a universal sport but they have different assets, another type of mentality, which makes it much more intense. There is a lot more rhythm, shots, everybody is trying to attack and score. It is good for the people watching.
Is Swansea a good springboard for you to get to a big English club?
Before I signed for Swansea, I had offers from big clubs. It was a choice that I really thought about. I took my time, weighed up the positives and the negatives, my age, what I want to achieve in football and how I was going to get there. With my family, I took the decision to go to Swansea, somewhere where I had the confidence of the manager and the president at 100%.
I really wanted to take my time to adapt to this league, in a good team. I did not want to go to a team where I would not play, that would not try to create, score goals. Swansea gave me everything that I wanted, in terms of football and financially. Now, I am ambitious and we will see what happens.
Do you always have Marseille at the back of your head?
Yes, I do not even need to say it. Marseille is inside me. I cannot spend one day without looking at the Marseille website or knowing what is happening because it is part of my life. Marseille is me, it is my entire life since I was little. I arrived there when I was very young, I played in all the teams up until the first team and I became an important player. I remember everything, I know everything that is happening there. Yesterday, there was a big game from the players (OM beat St Étienne 2-0), I hope that it will help them find the confidence again that they need.
But it is true that I miss the Marseille fans, the people of Marseille because it is the first time that I leave like this abroad. I hope that I will see them again soon and it remains my family.
Did the departure of Marcelo Bielsa affect your decision to leave Marseille?
Yes and no because my case was not really Bielsa’s case. It was another situation because I was at the end of my contract and with the club we needed to first find a situation to extend. As we did not find one, it became a bit complicated. After that, with all the problems that the club had financially it was difficult to reshape my contract.
It is true that in my head, my aim was not to say immediately that I was going to leave, not at all. Vincent (Labrune) knows that, everyone who was around me during this period knew that. Aside from that, on the other hand, I had this dream of discovering the Premier League.
Did Marseille President Vincent Labrune make the necessary financial efforts to keep you?
He could not. Because I think if he could have done then he would have. It was even difficult for me to continue on the same salary. We met several times, we discussed it a lot. People cannot tell me otherwise. I had long discussions with Vincent. We tried but even for me to remain on the same salary, it was difficult. You also saw the policy. Whether it was Payet, me or Gignac, we were all replaced by young players, with big potential, who are going to become great players in the future.
But they are not players with experience. Vincent could not, so we did not even talk further than that because it was difficult for him. He wanted me to stay, even though I had the dream of playing in England.
Are your worried about your brother Jordan, who is not playing much at Aston Villa?
No, he is playing, he has started 4 or 5 games. He has scored 2 goals. It is true that his debuts were difficult, a new coaching staff, a new team, a new country. He needed a bit of time but he is really starting to throw himself into it and when I speak with him he seems at ease, at home and it is good because I really think that he has the ability to explode in this league. I hope that one day, if we can, we will play again together in the same club.