Mohammed Kudus West Ham transfer: What’s the latest?

West Ham United are the latest club to be linked to Ajax and Ghana star Mohammed Kudus, who is rated as one of the most exciting prospects in the Dutch Eredivisie and across European football as a whole. 

90min’s Toby Kudworth and Graeme Bailey have reported that the Hammers have entered talks with the Amsterdam giants over the proposed deal, with Brighton’s offer of £34.5m from earlier in the summer set to be used as a benchmark, given that it was accepted. 

Whilst that offer still stands, there has been very little movement since a fee was agreed, suggesting that Kudus has no real desire to move to the AMEX Stadium – which is slightly strange given Brighton’s upward trajectory, European football, and acceptance of letting players move on to bigger things when the price is right. 

Still, Brighton’s loss could be West Ham’s gain, with Sky Sports’ Dharmesh Sheth reporting that the 23-year-old Kudus would be open to a move to London, in a much-needed boost for Hammers’ fans. 

Mohammed Kudus in action for Ajax
Photo by Icon Sport

After Declan Rice’s big-money departure to Arsenal, many fans expected West Ham to be heavily active in the transfer market this summer, but it’s only in the last couple of weeks that the Hammers have really come to life, signing Kudus’ teammate Edson Alvarez from Ajax, James Ward-Prowse from Southampton, and agreeing terms on a deal for former Manchester United captain Harry Maguire

Mohammed Kudus to West Ham: What's the latest?

Last chance for Ajax to sell?

A key factor in this is Ajax’s willingness to sell for the right price. Kudus has two years left on his contract, but after turning down the opportunity to sign a new deal, Ajax know that this is probably the last chance that they will get to receive a top-tier fee for a player that they have helped along his development path. 

With the standard procedure in the Eredivisie being that talents are brought in early, nurtured and cultivated, before being sold on for premium fees, the money from a Kudus sale would allow Ajax to make some much-needed reinvestment ahead of the new season. 

A move to Everton last summer was actually blocked by Ajax after Antony was sold to Manchester United, with the club unwilling to lose two young talents in the same transfer window, and when Kudus was reintegrated into the squad by new coach Jonny Heitinga, he paid back the club’s faith in his ability. 

In 2023 alone, Kudus scored 8 times and provided 5 assists in a spell of just 21 games, coming off the back of a World Cup where he had put the world on notice with a beautifully taken brace against South Korea for his national team. 

Mohammed KUDUS of Ghana during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Photo by Icon Sport

A replacement for Lucas Paqueta?

The question being asked by many is whether Kudus would be coming in to this West Ham squad as a replacement for Lucas Paqueta, who is strongly linked with a move to Manchester City that has been even further touted after the long-term injury to Kevin de Bruyne on the opening day of the Premier League season. 

West Ham maintain that they want to keep Paqueta, and that their interest in Kudus is complementary rather than as a replacement, but with Paqueta reportedly keen on a move to Manchester, it would make the most sense. 

How would Kudus fit?

It will be interesting to see how Moyes would utilise Kudus. Paqueta has played in a couple of different roles under the Scot, varying from his most-natural No. 10 role, to a deeper position next to Thomas Soucek in the pivot, and even at times as a narrow winger in a 4-2-3-1. 

One of Kudus’ great strengths is his positional versatility. Coming through as a youngster, Kudus operated in a more withdrawn role, almost as a Number 6, but his best performances for Ajax have come when he has been given minutes in more forward-thinking positions. 

Last year he gained the majority of his playing time either playing as a False 9-esque striker, or later on in the season, cutting in from the right wing, which is also where he scored that brace for his nation from in the World Cup. 

He has been clear that he feels his best role is a little bit deeper than that, roaming from a free-eight position in a three man midfield, or slotting in behind the striker as a Number 10, but what we’ve seen in his senior career so far suggests that his goalscoring acumen currently outweighs his ability to play the killer pass. 

That’s not to say that Kudus isn’t a creative player. His dribbling style, where his short stature gives him a low centre of gravity and allows him to take the ball under pressure and glide past defenders, is a skillset that West Ham could use in the middle of the park, in order to maintain a more consistent goal threat. 

Mohammed Kudus west ham transfer latest
Photo by Icon sport

The transfer merry-go-round

There’s a nice cyclical element to this transfer rumour. Whilst Manchester City’s interest in Lucas Paqueta is well documented, and we’ve examined why West Ham United would want Mohammed Kudus as a replacement, there is a third moving part. 

That part might be in who replaces Kudus at Ajax, with the Amsterdam club reported by Fabrizio Romano to be weighing up a move for Manchester City’s James McAtee, who spent last year on loan in the Championship with Sheffield United and impressed.

The English youngster, who has been with Manchester City’s Academy since the age of 11, has all the potential in the world, but having seen other members of the Elite Development Squad go on to forge their own pathways elsewhere, McAtee might be tempted to move on for the minutes to progress in his career. 

Romeo Lavia earned a big-money move to Chelsea after just one season playing regularly for Southampton, Jadon Sancho moved to Dortmund before returning to the Premier League, and the likes of Tosin Adarabioyo of Fulham, Eric Garcia of Barcelona, and Brahim Diaz of Real Madrid all looked elsewhere to find their next step. 

If he were to move to Amsterdam, it would give this entire transfer chain an interesting cyclical feel – Paqueta reducing McAtee’s minutes, Kudus replacing Paqueta, and McAtee replacing Kudus – and all three players might have the best chance of hitting their respective ceilings for the season to come.