West Ham United continue to spend the money they received from the sale of Declan Rise wisely, with them bringing in excitement machine Mohammed Kudus from Ajax to accompany the signings of Edson Alvarez and James Ward-Prowse.
Joining on a five-year contract for a fee of around £38 million, the 23-year-old’s set to inject plenty of dynamism, energy and thrust into the Hammers’ offensive plans.
“I’m delighted we’ve been able to bring Mohammed to West Ham United,” insisted manager David Moyes. “He’s a terrific young talent, who has already shone at the very highest level for Ajax in the Champions League and made well over 150 senior appearances at the age of 23 – so it was no surprise to see so many top clubs chasing his signature this summer.”
The move also ticks many boxes for the player, who can’t wait to prove himself in what’s arguably the best league in the world. “I’ve been dreaming to play in a league like this since I was a kid,” Kudus explained.
“I’ve been dreaming of this moment and I’m so happy to be here. But it doesn’t stop here, I want to keep going. I try my best to entertain the fans as I think that’s what football is all about. I’m just here to do my best and help the team. I’m really happy to be here. I will fight for the badge. I can’t wait to get started.”
Capable of playing out wide and centrally, plus able to fulfil basically any role across the frontline and as an offensive midfielder, this versatility should give Moyes plenty of tactical flexibility as to how best to use, plus ensure he can execute rotations seamlessly with colleagues due to his comfort operating in different zones.
Powerful, fast, strong, direct and skillful, the Ghanaian international, who notably bagged a brace at the 2022 World Cup vs. South Korea, is a formidable foe for any defence to come up against. Able to beat opponents with his blistering speed, razor sharp turns, crafty changes in pace, fancy footwork and sheer strength, the man with a low centre of gravity is so tough to stop 1v1.
Supremely balanced and able to withstand challenges with ease, it also warrants mention how he draws multiple markers to generate room for colleagues to use and can win fouls in quality areas.
Unpredictable, able to hold the ball up, press resistant and great at weaving away from danger in close quarters, these traits compound issues for adversaries, with his ability to impact proceedings both in transition and slower build-up equally impressive.
Relishing every chance he gets to drive at opponents to propel his team forward and put himself in damaging positions, it’s vital to note what an effective goal scorer and chance creator he is too.
To start with his finishing, and the livewire emphatically underlined his aptitude in this regard at Ajax, where he scored an outstanding 27 goals in 87 games, including 18 in all competitions last season.
Confident and happy to back himself when in range, the way he can find the back of the net with power, placement and finesse from a host of distances and locations, plus is instinctive at close range, adds to his worth.
A regular shooter, who unleashed a solid 3.19 shots per 90 last term, it’ll be fascinating seeing if the man that’s particularly lethal from around 20 yards can transfer his class here into the Premier League.
An extremely adept passer, ball progressor and creator, watch for him to flex his muscles in this compartment too, as it’s a joy to watch him especially engaging in slick combination play in tight, but also seeing him hit menacing crosses into the area, carve open defences with through balls and move the ball with purpose while waiting for a weakness to arise.
While he’s more of a menace on the dribble, it’s important to note how he possesses nifty vision to spot runners and recognise gaps within backlines before obliging runners.
Intelligent and aware of his surroundings, his knowledge of when to attack vacant spaces all over the attacking half of the pitch owes plenty to his spatial awareness, scanning and capacity to play in so many positions.
Effective at exploiting spaces between the lines, in the half spaces, in true central midfield and inside the box with his devastating surges, these aspects of his game will hold him great stead to stamp his mark at West Ham.
Calculated in his movement to provide options to the ball holder and to get into advantageous areas to breathe life into attacks, both in slow plays and on the counter, Kudus’ class here can be a real game changer.
Even though he commits the odd error on the ball and can be a tad overambitious in his decision making, there’s no doubting all the upside attached to his game outweighs any negatives.
The technically superb former FC Nordsjaelland wizard also holds his own on the defensive end, where he presses with intent, is fierce and strong in the tackle and uses his pace to cover the turf. Indeed, this will have further endeared him to West Ham, as his determined work, which was notably honed under Erik ten Hag and others at Ajax, will be crucial in the physically demanding EPL.
Excelling in many areas of the game, the multifaceted maestro has all the ingredients to develop into a world class player, with only small margins the difference between him becoming a bonafide star.
With still plenty of room for improvement to fine tune his craft in the ultra-competitive English top flight, observing how he fares in this next chapter of his career will be intriguing.
Explosive, powerful and ready to take the league by storm, Kudus could well be one of the signings of the season if all goes to plan even if he and his colleagues will unquestionably still miss the irreplaceable Rice following his mega move to Arsenal.