Arsenal transfer target Mohammed Kudus shines brightly in comparison to Bukayo Saka and Moussa Diaby as football.london analyses the potential summer arrival

Arsenal have been linked with a move for Mohammed Kudus of Ajax. After their successful negotiation with the Amsterdam-based club for Jurrien Timber, discussions with the Dutch giants may not be over as the Gunners look to strengthen their options in attack.

Kudus would offer Arsenal perhaps the one thing that they currently lack in their squad: greater competitive depth at both right-wing and centre-forward. Whilst this might seem harsh on both Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah, Kudus has shown in the Eredivisie and the World Cup his quality, though questions still remain.

He managed 30 league appearances for Ajax last season, a record for him after suffering persistent injury problems. He’s truly only had one full season of senior action in his 20s, and therefore would be something of a risk having suffered a serious meniscal problem and a fractured rib which kept him out for two extended stints of 10-plus games on each occasion.

Yet last season he did perform, and played in three roles: right wing, attacking midfield and centre-forward. Now, football.london takes a statistical look at the Ghanaian to see how he stands up against some of Arsenal’s best and a transfer target of the recent past.

Firstly, taking the raw goal and assist statistics according to FBRef from league showings, Kudus’ 0.55 goals per 90 is better than that of Bukayo Saka (0.4) Leandro Trossard (0.32) and Moussa Diaby (0.3). However, for assists he ranks lowest out of the four with 0.15 per 90 (three in total) compared to Trossard (0.48) Saka (0.31) and Diaby (0.27).

What Kudus could achieve in the context of playing for Arsenal, though, is interesting. Despite paling in comparison to Trossard’s assist numbers, both players managed 3.41 shot-creating actions per 90

There’s evidence there that Kudus is indeed creative but the chances aren’t being converted. Trossard’s expected assists per 90 were 0.27 compared to Kudus’ 0.15 so perhaps it is the quality of chance that Kudus needs to improve upon.

Stylistically there are differences, and Kudus’ technical ability on the ball shines. Successful take-ons per 90 are at a staggering 4.57 compared to Saka’s 1.73, Diaby’s 1.7 and Trossard’s 1.16.

With a percentage success rate of 62.3%, Kudus is a master at beating his man. Saka meanwhile has the lowest at 37.9% followed by Trossard 43.9% and Diaby 48.6%.

Arsenal would be adding a player who can cause different types of problems for opponents, and with the refinement of Mikel Arteta’s coaching, perhaps his creativity could be significantly improved. Arteta though does demand plenty of work off the ball from his forwards.

He ranks well here too, with 0.95 tackles won per 90 compared to Saka (0.96) Trossard (0.52) and Diaby (0.27). 0.65 clearances per 90 gives Kudus the lead in this area too over Saka (0.54) Trossard (0.16) and Diaby (0.10).

This continues in recoveries per 90 with Kudus racking up another impressive tally of 5.43 compared to Trossard’s 4.44, Saka’s 3.6 and Diaby’s 2.9. It’s becoming clear why Arsenal have this interest in the player as his characteristics seem to fall into what Arteta does want in a wide man.

The next step will be whether the interest turns into a bid. So far nothing has been officially made and there are links to the 23-year-old Brazilian Bitello so clearly the club has a list of options.

That said, Kudus’ link does make plenty of sense. Based on the numbers, he would be a seriously good addition to next season’s group.

 

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