Ghana midfielder Mohammed Kudus has attracted interest from several elite clubs in Europe with Chelsea being the latest in joining the list.
On Saturday the Athletic reported that the 22-year-old has emerged as a target for Pochetinho’s side who are willing to make amends for their terrible showing last season.
However, they are also believed to be exploring options in Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise as well as French attacking midfielder Rayan Cherki.
While all three look promising, it is Kudus who may appear as an all-round footballer for the Blues given his versatility.
Here are five factors driving Chelsea to acquire the talented player.
Could be an option in central midfield
The first reason why Chelsea could double up their efforts for Mohammed Kudus is due to inadequate central midfielders. The Blues lost Jorgingho and Kovacic to Arsenal and Manchester City respectively and are desperate to get experience in that position despite the presence of Andrey Santos and Cesare Casadei who are considered the future of the club. In addition, Gallagher is expected to leave as he seems surplus to requirement per reports.
With respect to experience, Enzo remains the only notable central midfielder and would need others to complement his efforts. Caicedo is expected to join Chelsea with agreement between the Blues and Brighton being the only stumbling block.
However, should that deal materialise, the Ecuadorian cannot pair with Enzo throughout the season considering possible injuries and the number of matches awaiting the London side in the upcoming season.
Kudus may not be a notable central midfielder but he has experience in playing more centrally having done so during his days at Nordjaelland while his ball-carrying strength and swift left foot gives him that advantage to maintain possession.
Can play all attacking roles
Among the two other options on the wishlist of Chelsea, Kudus stands out due to his flexibility. He may be preferred due to his ability to operate in almost all attacking positions including playing as a center-forward. He has proven to be a clinical finisher having delivered in that role a number of times for Ajax. He simply has a comparative advantage over Olise and Cherki upfront.
Aside from establishing himself as a livewire from the right flank a number of times, Kudus can again be an effective attacking midfielder despite not being a great passer compared to scoring. Thus depending on instructions from Pochettino, the Black Stars midfielder can be a great force behind the striker and the departure of Mount and Haverts could trigger Pochettino to consider that.
Affordable and accessible now
Kudus is available now. He would most likely be available next year as well but more clubs would have joined the race. It might even end up in a bidding war if the Ajax man shines for one more season. The many suggestions that Kudus needs to move to the Bundesliga or Brighton and Hove Albion or stay at Ajax to further develop only means one thing—the rise of his value. This is why Chelsea may be quick to acquire him to avoid any future competitions in their pursuit of the player. He would be just around £40m for this summer but would have a higher price tag when he joins another team given he continues in his remarkable form.
Player’s zeal to move on
This summer appears to be the perfect time for Chelsea to make the move not only because of the price tag but also because of the player’s zeal to move on. A few months ago, his agent confirmed the rejection of a contract extension to stay for more years with the Dutch giants indicating his willingness to start a new chapter.
Anything can happen in the space of one season including changing his mind to extend his deal at Ajax or accept an offer elsewhere. Thankfully, other clubs who had initially shown interest have not really shown seriousness with Manchester United settling on Mount and Arsenal getting Havertz.
Played at the highest level
Kudus has seen it all with both club and country. He was impressive in the UEFA Champions League scoring four goals in six group matches including goals against Napoli and Liverpool.
He also demonstrated his prowess at the World Cup while representing Ghana. Despite their early exit, Kudus stood out by scoring two crucial goals which propelled Ghana to their only win at the tournament while assisting their first goal of the competition against Portugal. Even in their last group game, it was Kudus’ adventure that won Ghana a penalty which was blown against Uruguay.
Therefore while many have raised doubts about the toughness of the Premier League and how difficult it could be for any player from a different environment to adapt, Chelsea could take solace in his ability to shine on the biggest stages.