Regardless of whether or not you think Mohammed Kudus is a midfielder or a centre-forward, one thing is not in question. When it comes to finding pockets of space inside the penalty area and taking chances with ruthless precision, Ajax’s Ghana international has ‘the knack’.
In all competitions this season, Kudus has hit the target 12 times for club and country. And it’s not just the number of goals but the variety of them that marks the former Nordsjaellend talisman out as a potentially world-leading talent.
Those rasping finishes against Liverpool and Rangers in the Champions League group-stages were a joy to behold. During Ghana’s dramatic 3-2 win over South Korea on Monday, however, Kudus showcased a different, more predatory side of his game; adding some flesh to the bones of the argument that his future lies not as a number eight but a number nine.
“Kudus is currently the best player at the World Cup,” former Ghana ace Kevin-Prince Boeteng tells Sport1.
“It’s incredible what he can do with the ball. It’s only a matter of time before he moves on to a world-class club after his experience at Ajax.”
Mohammed Kudus is ‘the best player at the World Cup’
According to 90Min, Arsenal have lodged an enquiry about Kudus’ availability during the Qatar World Cup. The jet-heeled 22-year-old was ‘very close’ to joining Everton last summer, and is refusing to rule out a potential January departure from Ajax.
Kudus is not the only World Cup goalscorer on Arsenal’s radar either. France Bleu claim that Arsenal would likely be at the front of the queue if Financial Fair Play pressures force Paris Saint-Germain to cash in on Carlos Soler, just months after signing the Spain international from Valencia in a £21 million deal.
Soler has started just four Ligue 1 games so far. He is undoubtedly one of the more affordable and attainable members of this expensively-assembled PSG squad. The former Los Che skipper is not quite as prolific as Kudus. But he, too, possesses a keen eye for goal. Soler hit double figures in his final two seasons at Valencia, and has three already in 12 games at PSG.
There’s a fair few penalties in his tally. Including a hat-trick of spot kicks in a 4-1 thumping of Real Madrid. But Soler also boasts that almost Lampardian ability to burst into the box before finishing emphatically. He’s pretty good in the air too.
Soler’s finish in Spain’s 7-0 thumping of Costa Rica was typical of the man. Arriving fashionably late into the penalty area before slamming a loose ball into the back of Keylor Navas’ net.
January key to Arsenal’s title ambitions
With Arsenal keeping tabs on both Soler and Kudus, is this a sign that Mikel Arteta wants to add more of a final-third threat to his midfield? Both Martin Odegaard and Granit Xhaka are proving themselves to be a reliable source of goals, while Fabio Vieira and the returning Emil Smith Rowe can also finish. Soler and Kudus, however, are perhaps more natural finishers than any of the aforementioned quartet; more adept at running beyond the striker and getting on the end of crosses.
“We know where we are,” Arteta said following Arsenal’s 3-1 EFL Cup defeat to Brighton; a result which highlighted the lack of quality depth in his title-chasing squad. (And) we knew the moment we had certain injuries that the squad is already very, very short.”
Soler or Kudus would certainly help in that regard. You can never have enough goalscorers, after all.