Charlie Nicholas expects Aston Villa to sell Jordan Ayew this summer

The 24-year-old Ghana international striker has arguably been the relegated club's best player this season, scoring six goals in 27 Premier League appearances.

Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas believes Aston Villa will have to sell Jordan Ayew this summer as they prepare for life in the Championship.

Villa’s 28-year stay in the top-flight officially came to an end on Saturday afternoon when Marcus Rashford’s first-half strike saw them lose 1-0 at Manchester United to confirm their relegation with four games left.

They currently sit 15 points from safety at the foot of the table after an historically poor campaign which has seen them record just three league wins and score a division-low 23 goals, and there are now expected to be sweeping changes across the club over the summer.

The players have understandably come under severe scrutiny over recent months for their poor form, but Ayew has escaped some of the harsher criticism after proving one of the team’s better performers.

An £8.5 million summer signing from Lorient, the Ghana international striker has recovered from a slow start to score six goals in 27 Premier League appearances during his first season in England and impressed with his work rate in the process.

His production has suffered from a lack of support – as was the case against United – but Nicholas was still quick to single him out as one obvious positive for Villa to take from the defeat at Old Trafford.

While Remi Garde’s successor is still to be named, whoever arrives is going to have to manage a significant overhaul of the squad in the coming months as the financial ramifications of relegation take their toll, and Nicholas believes Ayew is the likeliest candidate to move on given what he has shown in the top-flight this term.

Speaking on Soccer Saturday after watching Villa’s loss, the former Arsenal forward said: "Ayew up front gave United a little bit of work on his own. Looking at the group they have that might be sellable, I think he would probably be an asset.

“There might be one or two that you might think of keeping like Scott Sinclair and Rudy Gestede, but they have got big decisions to make defensively. Hutton was half-decent but are Cissokho and people like that going to be around in the Championship on big wages?

“I think they’ve got the seventh-highest in the Premier League. It’s quite dramatic, so there’s a lot of work to be done in a short space of time.”

Ayew has actually already been linked with a potential move away from Villa this week, with the Daily Mail reporting that West Ham United are preparing a £6 million move for the former Marseille man.

Derby County are also said to be keen on his signature if they secure promotion to the top-flight next month [h/t Daily Mail], while Bournemouth have been named as another possible suitor [h/t Daily Mail].

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