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Sports News of Monday, 15 August 2022

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Best player in pre-season, benchwarmer in main season: The curious case of Mohammed Kudus

Ajax midfielder, Kudus Moahmmed Ajax midfielder, Kudus Moahmmed

After scoring four goals in four matches and excelling in three different positions during the pre-season in July, there was little or no doubt that Black Stars midfielder Kudus Mohammed was in for a big season.

Kudus is in his third season at Ajax after joining from Nordsjaelland for a fee of 9 million euros in 2020.

Ghanaians were excited by his move to Ajax because the Netherland giants are a hub for talent development and appear to be the ideal team to shape Kudus' enormous talent.

Kudus Mohammed signed a five-year contract with Ajax, which runs until 2025. His first two seasons were hampered by consistent injuries, which worried the club and Ghanaians who expected the player to progress smoothly.

Despite this, he showed flashes of great talent in the few games he played during those dark days. Three years into his contract, Kudus has only played three UEFA Champions League games for Ajax, demonstrating how difficult his first two seasons have been.

He needed to start over and rewrite the story in the 2022/2023 season. In that regard, during the preseason, Kudus appeared determined; his aura suggested a player on a mission, and his four goals in four games sent a message to new coach Alfred Schreuder.

Schreuder used the Ghanaian in three different roles - Striker, attacking midfielder and winger and he came out tall. Kudus made a substantial impact in all of the manager's experiments, and one would think the player will be one of the first names in the starting line-ups when the season begins.

The season has finally begun, and Kudus has played just over 10 minutes in the first two games. During Ajax's opening day 3-2 win over Fortuna Sittard, he was subbed on in stoppage time. In the second game which Ajax won 6-1 against Groningen, they were in cruise control and led by 5-1 in the 66th minute. However, Kudus was introduced in the 84th minute, replacing captain Dusan Tadic.

What might have gone wrong?

It appears the 22-year-old, despite his versatility, is second or third fiddle in all his preferred positions. In the attacking midfield role, skipper Dusan Tadic occupies the first slot; on the wings, he is behind Steven Bergwijn and Anthony; in the leading striker role, Brian Brobbey is the first choice; and in the central midfield, the manager prefers Alvarez, Taylor, Berghuis, Klaasen and sometimes Blind who is a defender in a double pivot to Kudus.

Obviously, Kudus faces such stiff competition that even his versatility cannot guarantee him a starting spot.

Does Kudus deserves a fair chance despite the competition?

Kudus Mohammed, without a doubt, deserves a fair chance to see his game time increase. However, due to the options available and the manager's preference in the first two games, he has a very slim chance of making the lineup.

Lack of game time a worry for Ghana?

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup starting in 97 days, players will want to be in peak physical condition, improve their sharpness and fitness so that they can deliver on the World Stage for their country, and only consistent games could provide that assurance.
Kudus is a key player for Ghana. Although it is still early in the season, the Black Stars technical staff will be concerned about his situation.

Will a loan move be a good option?

It's a long season and it's only two games. Although the coach's preference for selection is clear, requesting a loan move appears to be the best solution for the situation.

A new club, a new challenge, will undoubtedly necessitate adaptation, and there is no guarantee that he will be a starter because he will need to be integrated, which will take time. This is very similar to the situation at Ajax.

Staying at Ajax and fighting for a spot in the line, or seeking a new challenge, both carry risks. Kudus' situation is far more complex than it appears.



EE/KPE

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