Crystal Palace latest news: Surprise claim emerges on 73-cap ace after contract update

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Journalist Tom Barclay has criticised Jordan Ayew's performance levels, describing them as not very high for Crystal Palace this season.

The 73-cap Ghanaian forward has featured in all but one Premier League game under Patrick Vieira but is still waiting for his first goal this season.

What do the stats say about Ayew?

According to WhoScored, the 30-year-old has been Palace's 11th-best player this term, although that shouldn't come as a great surprise given his worrying stats.

Ayew, who's out of contract next summer although Vieira hinted at a possible extension, has failed to score in 14 appearances this season. In fact, it's been 41 games since the ex-Swansea man last found the net, doing so in the victory over Leeds last November.

Despite his lack of end product, with just one assist all campaign, Vieira has continued to pick Ayew, handing him 11 starts, even though he's had the likes of Michael Olise and more recently, Eberechi Eze, waiting in the wings.

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Ayew did come within inches of scoring his first of the season at Old Trafford last weekend, but his effort went agonisingly past the far post.

And Barclay said that his performances haven't been "high" this season, even suggesting that the forward might be a training ground player to keep being picked by Vieira.

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What did Barclay say about Ayew?

He told GIVEMESPORT: "His performance levels don't fluctuate as much as other creative players, but I wouldn't say his level has been that high this season, maybe he's just a really good training ground player."

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Will Ayew start against Everton on Saturday?

When Vieira has everyone fit, not many would likely have him in their best XI. Most would surely have a front three of Odsonne Edouard, with Wilfried Zaha on one side and Eze on the other.

However, Vieira is clearly reluctant to rush Eze back into action, handing him just two substitute appearances despite returning from his long-term Achilles injury in early-November.

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But following yet another 90 minutes without scoring against Manchester United, their second on the bounce, Vieira could opt to shuffle his pack and hand Eze his first start since May against the Toffees.

Should that happen, Ayew's form might be the one to make way.

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