Swansea had already sold two strikers this summer by the time Bafetimbi Gomis' loan to Marseille was confirmed. Even Andre Ayew is being heavily linked with a move away. Ayew is technically not even a striker, but is the closest thing Swansea have outside of prospect Oliver McBurnie. The club has no senior strikers. The new season starts in a fortnight.
The slow transfer business can at least be partially attributed to the majority shareholder takeover by American investors Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan. However, that deal was ratified over a week ago -- sadly not soon enough for the Swans to have saved a potential deal for Stoke-bound Joe Allen -- and yet the club continues to dawdle in the market.
At a time when fans are desperate for the club to bring players in, the rumours surrounding a potential Ayew exit are clearly unwelcome. Worse, the price floated on the rumour mill is a mere £16 million. For comparison, Bournemouth paid £15m for Jordon Ibe, a figure based more on the player's potential than his past. Middlesbrough have spent £14.25m on uncapped Dutch midfielder Marten de Roon.
Crystal Palace have splashed out £15.5m on journeyman winger Andros Townsend. Southampton paid £13.5m for Norwich's Nathan Redmond, a similar player from a Championship club. Are either as good as Ayew? The Ghanaian scored 12 goals last season. Redmond scored 11 in three years with Norwich. Townsend has scored just 18 in his entire career.
True, these players are technically listed as wingers and are expected to provide rather than score, but Ayew is every bit as much a provider as scorer, and has far more positional versatility than any of the other players mentioned here, a fact that should be reflected in his price. If Swansea are willing to let top assets go they have to ask for top prices in return. Based on the prices already set in this summer's market, Ayew should command at least £25m -- the price Georginio Wijnaldum went to Liverpool for.
If Swansea managed to extract better value from the players they sell, they might be in a better position to meet the wage demands of potential high impact targets such as Wilfried Bony.
The striker was undersold at £25m given his career 0.5 goals-per-game average prior to joining Manchester City, and underselling hurts the player, too. Had Bony been sold for closer to the £40m he was surely worth at the time, he would have been bought as a starter rather than an option from the bench. He would have had a better chance to flourish and would have established a precedent that just because the selling club is small, the price tag of their star players shouldn't be. Having sold Bony for £25m, how can Swansea ask for the same or more for Ayew?
The clubs said to interested in Ayew include Liverpool, Chelsea and West Ham. A move to either of the first two would make sense. It's expected that star players from smaller clubs eventually earn their chance to join big sides. To sell to West Ham makes less sense. The club are direct rivals in terms of league position. Swansea might be about to strengthen a rival while selling a top player for half his value.
Many of the last crop of players Swansea have bought have all been sold at a loss -- Eder and Alberto Paloschi, with Franck Tabanou likely to go the same way. Those losses mean there is more pressure on Swansea to get maximum value from any further player sales.
By underselling assets and having swung and missed on the majority of their recent acquisitions, Swansea are hurting their financial stability. The new owners must tighten up this aspect of club business if they are to help the team grow, starting with demanding proper value for Ayew.