Ajax is a club that has been known to produce an incredible array of talent and many have gone onto to some of the biggest clubs in the world. Not only do they come up with some fantastic prospects that make their way all the way through the academy, but they also have a real eye for picking up youngsters from across the world who go on to be the next big thing. One of the most recent cases of the latter is regarding the acquisition of Mohammed Kuddus from Danish club Nordsjaelland.
Kudus is a Ghanaian winger/attacking midfielder that started off at the Right To Dream Academy in his home country. He has represented Ghana at youth levels as well as making his full international debut, already boasting a goal in just 2 appearances for the senior side. He joined Ajax in July 2020 for a fee of around €9m and has so far made 3 appearances for the club. Unfortunately one of those appearances was in the Champions League against Liverpool, where he picked up a nasty knee injury that is set to keep him out for a few months. Despite this, the hype around Kudus shouldn’t die down as in the short time he’s been in Europe he’s managed to win plaudits from everywhere with Ajax boss Erik ten Haag describing him as a player with “incredible potential”.
The injury for Kudus was a real shame as he had both literally and figuratively hit the ground running at Ajax. Kudus had already won 2 man of the match awards for the Dutch champions and had also been nominated for the Player Of The Month Award too. His performances were an instant hit and his 3 assists and 1 goal led defender Edson Alvarez to claim “Mo Kudus has everything in my opinion. He is our best player right now.”. Very impressive praise for a young player that has only just started to establish himself in the Dutch capital.
Now onto Kudus’ style of play. The 20-year-old is a pacey forward and an excellent ball carrier, in his 3 league appearances for Ajax he has averaged 4 dribbles per game and when you watch him it’s clear to see why. Quite simply, his technique makes it incredibly difficult to get the ball off him. Although not the shortest by any means, Kudus seems to have an extremely low centre of gravity and due to this is able to change direction with great fluidity. Unable to reach the ball, defenders often attempt to knock Kudus off the ball, however, his incredible balance means he has a great ability to ride challenges and even when he looks like he might stumble or lose control of the ball, he finds that extra touch or extra yard and is able to stride away from the challenge.
Kudus’ pace is another huge asset of his, particularly his acceleration. I can imagine Kudus would be nightmare to play against as he often looks like he’s lost control of the ball or knocked it too far, but he always seems to be able to nip in and take it away from defenders. This allows him to commit opposition players and opens up space for himself and also for him to delicately shift it on to teammates into the gaps that he has provoked.
Due to being a player that operates at such a high intensity and speed, you might think Kudus would come up somewhat lacking in the passing department, however, that’s absolutely not the case. Kudus has a great eye for a pass and definitely favours a delicate chipped ball into the perfect area rather than being someone who is able to thread a pass through the eye of a needle. His clips into teammates create numerous chance and combined with his intricate flicks and dinks, are perfect for breaking down stubborn opposition on the edge of their box.
Kudus has looked like a fantastic bit of business from Ajax and clearly their scouts who watched his development in Denmark have seen something they like to warrant €9m on a 20-year-old. His injury is a big blow for him, but also based on how well he started the season, also a big blow for Ajax. Despite this, I’m confident that the Ghanaian will come back strong when he returns in 2021.
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