Ajax director Sven Mislintat insists he is not expecting any imminent bids for Mohammed Kudus while playing down reports linking the forward with Premier League giants Manchester United.
The Athletic, earlier this week, indicated that Erik ten Hag could turn to another Eredivisie star if Atalanta were reluctant to budge on Rasmus Hojlund’s eye-watering asking price.
But is Mohammed Kudus really a genuine, serious Manchester United target? Or is he being used as something of a stalking horse instead? When deals for Mason Mount and Andre Onana appeared to be hitting the buffers, reports soon emerged suggesting that United were turning their attention to alternative targets – see Moises Caicedo and Justin Bijlow – before Ten Hag finally got his man.
Perhaps Kudus is to Hojlund what, say, Bijlow was to Onana. On the radar, certainly, but a back-up option at best. One who United may turn to. But only if the Red Devils cannot come to a compromise with Atalanta over Hojlund.
Manchester United unlikely to sign Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus
Mislintat, the former Dortmund and Arsenal chief who now works as Ajax’s sporting director, certainly isn’t anticipating any offers over the next few days from Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal or any of Kudus’ other reported suitors.
“I don’t expect an offer very soon,” Mislitat tells Voetbal International. “Perhaps the interest is not as serious as everyone thinks.”
The £40 million-rated Kudus was a sprinkling of cinnamon in an otherwise distasteful Ajax season; scoring 18 goals and setting up seven more. Form that had Ghana legend George Boeteng suggesting that he could become a ‘world-class’ footballer over the next 18 months or so.
But with Ten Hag preferring a classic number nine in the shape of Hojlund to a more flexible, versatile option such as Kudus, Mislintat appears confident that the former FC Norsjaelland talisman will be sticking around for another year in the Netherlands.
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‘Best thing for us is if Kudus stays’
“No fixed deadline (for any sale). But we must have time to get replacements, if we have not already done so,” Mislintat adds.
“The best thing for us is if Kudus and (West Ham linked Edson) Alvarez stay. Then we keep two top players. But it is also possible that one goes, or both.
“It is important for us that the relationship with players remains good. This can be done by being transparent and applying good principles. As we get closer to the deadline, the transfer fee, for example, rises.”