Premier League • England

In-form Ajax man confirms Everton transfer approach and tackles claim he tried to force move

Dusan Tadic and Mohammed Kudus

Ajax forward Mohammed Kudus says Everton tried to sign him during the summer transfer window, while also reacting to rumours he wouldn’t train to help the switch go through.

Kudus made 25 appearances under Erik ten Hag last season, during which he registered six goals and one assist. His campaign was affected by ankle and rib injuries.

The centre-forward, who can also operate in midfield, had to spend large periods of time on the bench. Ten Hag often used him as an impact substitute.

Kudus has established himself as an important part of Ajax’s first team this season. And he has rewarded Alfred Schreuder – Ajax’s new boss – for his faith by banging in the goals.

Kudus has found the net seven times in just 10 outings, as well as chipping in with an assist.

The Ghanaian has previously been viewed as a squad player but is now proving his worth to the Dutch club. But it could have been so different if an Everton move had gone through this summer.

Frank Lampard’s side became interested in Kudus in August. The Toffees soon began talks with Ajax over a possible transfer, too.

According to Dutch source Voetbal International, Kudus refused to train with his team-mates on deadline day to try and make the move go through.

This got Everton to push harder for an agreement and they sent Ajax a £15million bid, as per The Independent reporter Miguel Delaney.

However, Ajax had already sold several senior players and didn’t want Kudus to follow suit. As such, the goalscorer remained in Amsterdam.

Mohammed Kudus talks summer rumours

During an interview with NOS, the 22-year-old has confirmed Everton’s interest in landing him. He also spoke about not wanting to train in the final day of the transfer window.

“Everton offered me a great opportunity and I wanted to try it,” Kudus said (via Sport Witness). “No footballer wants to sit on the bench and neither do I. Although I understood that not everyone can play all the time, Everton seemed like a good option at the time.

“It wasn’t that I didn’t want to train [towards the end of the window], but I’m human and had to deal with a lot in a very short time. The chapter is now over and I’m still here.”

Players not training to try and force through a move is nothing new. This is exactly what Antony and Lisandro Martinez did before moving from Ajax to Manchester United.

Kudus has reacted to the failed transfer well, finding the net more than he has done in previous seasons. Perhaps this is part of his strategy to join Everton in one of the new few transfer windows.

By continuing to score and staying in the headlines, the 16-cap international can keep Everton interested in him.

But to agree a deal with Ajax, the Toffees will need to bid more than £15m. This was not enough to get Ajax to agree an exit in the summer.

Kudus’ contract runs for another three years, which puts Schreuder’s team in a good position. Plus, his transfer value will only rise if he keeps scoring.

Meanwhile, Everton are reportedly in contract renewal talks with three stars, including Jordan Pickford.