By Scott Saunders & Graeme Bailey
Manchester United are exploring the possibilities of signature Ajax forward Mohammed Kudus as he continues his search for a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo this month, 90 minutes he understands.
Ronaldo saw his contract terminated ahead of the World Cup following an explosive interview with Piers Morgan, although his departure – which came at no cost to United at the time – has now left manager Erik ten Hag running out of options on offense.
The Dutchman has publicly stated his desire to bring in a new striker this month, although he was keen to underline that they need to acquire the right player profile if they are to move in the transfer market. Kudus is another player Ten Hag knows well from their time together in Amsterdam, where Kudus has been since 2020.
It is understood that no offer has yet been made, although behind-the-scenes talks have taken place.
The Old Trafford club’s cash position has been called into question in recent weeks and United have been put up for sale by the much-maligned Glazer family, making transfer activity in the immediate future uncertain. United’s preference is to explore cheaper offers this month given the situation at the club as a whole, although loan-for-buy options are also being studied.
United are exploring whether Kudus could fit into that category, although other names on the agenda include Memphis Depay, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and even Olivier Giroud. However, Milan are confident in retaining the French international. Vincent Aboubakar’s name was also mentioned after Ronaldo’s arrival at Al Nassr, for whom Aboubakar plays.
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Joao Felix and Cody Gakpo are other options United have been considering in recent weeks, although the former is prohibitively expensive even on loan and the latter has joined rivals Liverpool this month.
Gakpo has been a target of Ten Hag since last summer, although Kudus looks like a viable alternative. He would be the third player Ten Hag has signed from Ajax for United if a deal progresses, following deals for Lisandro Martinez and Antony last summer.
Ten Hag are steadfast in their desire to add to their squad this month as United push for a place in the Premier League first four.
“It’s always difficult. Forwards are expensive, especially in winter,” Ten Hag said recently. “But you have to set high limits. We are looking for it. We have to be creative and do everything in our power to bring in the right players, who fit the balance.
“It’s about timing and availability. It’s about so many circumstances that play into that.
“I think we have a team, we have players who match our criteria. But all the matches are coming. It’s a tough competition, in all leagues. We want to continue playing in all leagues and also in cups. So we need players and we need numbers to cover.
“We need good players, not just numbers. We need quality players to cover. And we also need competition and we also need to know that we can make different choices. So we are looking for the right player for our team, but he has to match our sporting criteria, certainly, but also some financial criteria”.
Kudus is capable of playing in a variety of front-row positions and was one of Ghana’s standout players at the World Cup in Qatar, scoring twice in a 3-2 win over South Korea.
He has openly admitted his preference to play as the number 10, but he has also excelled on the right side and at centre-forward, a problematic position for United, and scored against Liverpool earlier this season in the Champions League at Anfield.
This article was originally posted on 90min.com as Man Utd exploring deal for Ajax striker Mohammed Kudus.