After months of scouting, Ajax have finally got their man in Kudus Mohammed for a fee of 9.5 million euros – an amount that could rise slightly due to bonuses.
Kudus, who can play as a winger, attacking midfielder or striker has scored 11 goals in 25 Danish Superligaen appearances this season.
He was linked with a host of clubs including Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Newcastle. However, Netherlands would be his next destination as the Ghanaian would be trying to fill the boots of the departed Hakim Ziyech.
The 19-year-old was recently nominated in the 100-man shortlist for the 2020 Golden Boy award and would be looking to hit the ground running with the Dutch champions next season.
Erik Ten Hag asked for offensive reinforcements this summer and so far has been gifted with two very talented young forwards in Antony and Kudus.
So, how could Ajax be lining up on the first day of next season with the Ghanaian international?
Let’s take a look at three possible options:
Ten Hag predominantly uses a 4-2-3-1 formation, having used this in over 80% of games over the last two seasons. Tadic usually plays as the false nine allowing the wingers and the attacking midfielder to get into good goal scoring opportunities.
Ajax average close to 20 crosses per game this season with majority of their crosses coming in from the right flank. Movement in this role would be key for Kudus as finding himself in the right positions could see him score lots of goals.
This season, Kudus averaged 2.7 shots per game with FC Nordsjælland and would be relishing the prospect of linking up with Tadic, Neres and Promes upfront.
Occasionally, when Ten Hag is not using his favorite 4-2-3-1 formation he tends to use a 4-3-3. This allows his team to have more control of the ball and dominate the middle of the park.
Kudus could be deployed in the number eight role which would see him progress the ball more and make more incisive passes. The 19-year-old gives 2.7 progressive passes per 90 as well making 2.7 progressive runs per 90 – demonstrating how well he drives at defences.
Playing in midfield will require greater responsibility in terms of possession retention which is key to Ajax’s philosophy. Kudus fits the midfield role in that regard as he ranks in the 100th percentile when it comes to pass accuracy in the Danish Superligaen this season.
Still with the 4-3-3 formation and Kudus could be deployed as a right winger. This season, he has featured in some league games coming in from the right wing. Due to his low center of gravity and explosive speed, the Ghanaian never looks out of sorts even when wide.
However, Ten Hag’s wingers tend to operate more centrally as they are tasked with picking up half spaces and linking up with team mates to carve open the defences of opponents.
Kudus enjoys creating space as he ranks in the 100th percentile of successful dribbles per 90. He completed 118 dribbles this season in the Danish Superligaen, at least 27 more than any other player.
Three very potent options for Ajax next season to fit in their new Ghanaian signing. The departure of Ziyech leaves a huge void in the attack of Ajax, one that Ten Hag hopes he can fill sooner rather than later. But with the arrival of Kudus, Ajax do have a potential wizard under their sleeves.
Could they end up replicating their dream run in last season’s Champions League next season?
Suddenly, that doesn’t seem like such a wild suggestion.
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