English Premier League side West Ham United have announced the signing of Ghana midfielder Mohammed Kudus from Dutch side Ajax.
The Hammers fought off intense competition from some of Europe’s leading clubs to secure the services of the exciting Ghana international attacker from Ajax.
The 23-year-old joins the Irons on a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee, becoming the Club’s third major summer signing following his former Ajax teammate and Mexico international Edson Álvarez and England midfielder James Ward-Prowse.
Below are some seven key things you need to know about the Ghanaian international:
1. A Dream start!
Mohammed Kudus made his name at Strong Tower FC in Nima, the suburb of Ghana’s capital city Accra where he was born and raised, before joining the Right To Dream Academy at the age of 12.
The youngster was one of a handful of applicants accepted on a scholarship at Right To Dream, where around 30,000 children apply every two years for a spot in the prestigious system.
Since its creation in 1999, the Academy has graduated 282 students. Since 2007, 157 graduates have gone on to play professional football on a global scale, with 67 representing their respective countries at international level. Of those, seven played at the Men’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022, including Kudus!
2. Just the third Ghanaian Hammer!
In joining West Ham United, Kudus becomes the 33rd Ghanaian to ply his trade in the Premier League, and the third to do so in the Claret and Blue of the Irons.
The first was full-back John Paintsil, who moved to West Ham from Hapoel Tel Aviv in August 2006. The versatile defender made 24 appearances for the Hammers across a two-year spell before switching to west London and joining Fulham.
The second was attacker André Ayew, who is also the current captain of the Ghana national team! Ayew joined West Ham for a then-Club record transfer fee from Swansea City in August 2016. The forward would score 12 goals in 50 appearances for the Hammers before completing a return to the Swans in January 2018.
3. Going Dutch
In three years as an Ajax player, Kudus helped the Dutch giants to claim three trophies.
Twice, Ajax won the Eredivisie title with Kudus in the squad. The Amsterdam club comfortably claimed the league trophy in Kudus’ maiden campaign, collecting 88 points – putting them 16 clear of second-place PSV Eindhoven.
That campaign, 2020/21, the Ghanaian scored four goals and registered three assists in 17 outings. He also helped Ajax secure the double, lifting the KNVB Cup thanks to a 2-1 win over Vitesse Arnhem in the final.
The 2021/22 season was a more subdued one for Kudus, as he played a role in 16 Eredivisie matches, as Ajax once again won the league title.
On an individual level, Kudus has been voted into the Eredivisie Team of the Month on four occasions. He also won the Ghana Football Awards Footballer of the Year in 2023 and was named the Sports Writers Association of Ghana Sports Personality of the Year in 2022.
4. A prolific 2022/23
The 2022/23 season may have been a disappointing one, collectively, for Ajax when compared to the club’s usual lofty standards, but Kudus’ individual campaign was a resounding success.
Taking on more responsibility in the team following the departures of Antony to Manchester United, Ryan Gravenberch to Bayern Munich and Sébastien Haller to Borussia Dortmund, respectively, the 23-year-old made 42 appearances in all competitions, scored 18 goals and provided seven assists.
Four of those goals came in six Champions League group stage appearances, netting against Liverpool, SSC Napoli and Rangers, while an outstanding run of form in early 2023 saw Kudus play a role in eight goals in eight Eredivisie matches.
Overall, Kudus scored 24 goals during his time as an Ajax player, and three-quarters of those came last season!
5. High praise from a Dutch legend
Mohammed Kudus’ form for Ajax has caught the eye across Europe, with the versatile midfielder earning rave reviews from pundits, icons and legends of the game.
The 23-year-old’s efforts in recent months caught the eye of Netherlands legend Marco van Basten earlier this year. The striker, who scored 300 goals in a prolific career, knows talent when he sees it, and believes Kudus is filled with potential.
Euro 1988 matchwinner Van Basten described Kudus as ‘Ajax’s best player’ and was also full of praise for the Ghanaian’s technique and intelligence.
High praise from one of the very best to ever do it!
6. International form
Kudus always seemed destined for the international stage and, since his debut for Ghana in November 2019 at 19, he has been a regular feature in the national side.
Playing in centre midfield, Kudus scored on his Ghana debut in a 2-0 win over South Africa, and would add his second international goal on his first start, again against Bafana Bafana.
Kudus formed part of Ghana’s squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar at the end of last year and, while the Black Stars were unable to qualify for the knock-out stages from Group H, Kudus played a big role in a fixture to never forget, firing home twice in a 3-2 win over South Korea at the tournament.
Overall, Kudus has netted seven goals in 24 international appearances so far.
7. Friends reunited
In making the switch to east London, Kudus will once again link up with a former teammate from Ajax.
Edson Álvarez became the Hammers first signing of the summer transfer window earlier this month and the Mexican, like Kudus, made the switch to West Ham from Eredivisie side Ajax.
Álvarez joined the Dutch side in July 2019, while Kudus made the move to Ajax in 2020. The two midfielders played together 62 times for the Club, reaching a total of 2,310 minutes played together.
Of those 62 matches, they were on the winning side 40 times!