The World Cup is less than a week old and reports are already emerging over potential signings for Liverpool, including Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus.
While Jurgen Klopp himself is not attending this year’s tournament, instead favouring a mid-season holiday, the same cannot be said of the club’s scouts.
Signing players on the back of a breakout tournament may never be the wisest move, but monitoring performances in Qatar will be a valuable exercise when it comes to weighing up future targets.
According to SportsWorldGhana, which conveniently describes itself as “Ghana’s authoritative and most credible sports website,” there was a Liverpool presence at the Group H clash between Portugal and Ghana.
Portugal – without Diogo Jota due to injury – ran out 3-2 winners in a breathless tie not short of controversy, with Otto Addo questioning whether Cristiano Ronaldo’s reputation earned his side a dubious penalty.
But SportsWorldGhana claim that Liverpool representatives were keeping an eye on Ghana’s versatile 22-year-old Kudus.
Kudus plays his club football with Ajax, scoring in the Dutch side’s 2-1 loss to the Reds at Anfield in September, and clocked 77 minutes in the defeat to Portugal.
It is likely that scouts will have been impressed, with Kudus setting up a goal for Andre Ayew to bring the game back to 1-1, shortly before his substitution.
Though he is often deployed up front for Ajax, the Ghanaian took a place in midfield on Thursday, while he is also capable of operating as No. 10 and even out wide.
This versatility would no doubt endear Kudus to Liverpool, with SportsWorldGhana claiming that the club “hope to bring him to Anfield in January.”
Of course, any such claim should be taken with a pinch of salt, particularly given the source is yet to have been corroborated by a more dependable outlet.
But it stands to reason that Kudus would be a player on the Reds’ radar, even during an ever-changing landscape as the owners seek a sale and both sporting director Julian Ward and director of research Ian Graham prepare to leave.
Having only turned 22 in August, he has already gained considerable experience with Ajax and, before that, FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark.
That includes nine appearances in the Champions League, with four goals and two assists coming in six outings in Europe’s top-tier tournament this season.
His ability to slot into various midfield and attacking roles would suit Klopp’s flexible system, too, keeping in with the trend of signing players who are not restricted to one position.
Kudus’ contract expires in 2025, and it was claimed that he didn’t train with Ajax on deadline day in September in the hope of forcing through a £15 million move to Everton.
That deal fell through, with Ajax refusing to part ways with another player, and now there is a chance he earns a switch to the other side of Stanley Park.
Any transfer would almost certainly require a fee much higher than £15 million, however.