Ajax are a never-ending production line of young talent, aren’t they?
It was, after all, remarkable to see the extent to which the Dutch giants had regenerated last season just three years on from having Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong stripped from the team that made them Champions League semi-finalists.
But once again, there they were, putting on another fantastic season for the world to see to such an extent that they were once again plundered by some of Europe’s biggest clubs in the summer transfer market.
Ajax regenerate once again
Just as they had been pillaged of their star men back in 2019, the Amsterdam club were rinsed of most of their prized assets and even their manager as Erik ten Hag headed to Manchester United.
And not only did their former coach take Lisandro Martinez and Antony with him for good measure, but André Onana, Ryan Gravenberch, Sébastien Haller, Nicolás Tagliafico and Noussair Mazraoui also left for other top clubs.
For most teams, that would represent a gutting of such devastating proportions that they would simply be unable to recover for seasons upon seasons, but Ajax simply aren’t ‘most teams’.
And you needn’t look any further for signs of recovery than the fact that Ajax already find themselves top of the Eredivisie table with a menacing record of six wins from as many games with 21 goals scored and just three conceded.
While, yes, that is in part a testament to the top players who Haven stuck around at the Johan Cruyff Arena such as Jurriën Timber and Dusan Tadic, it’s also an indicator that Ajax are once again bleeding more and more young talent.
Kudus: A rising talent at Ajax
And one such fledgling starlet who caught the eye in the Netherlands this week was none other than 20-year-old midfielder Mohammed Kudus.
Now, those well-versed in Ajax will know that Kudus hasn’t just appeared out of nowhere this season, but has rather played an ever-increasing role in the first team over the past three years.
Nevertheless, the 2022/23 campaign has so far represented a watershed moment for Kudus as he has scored as many goals already this season from eight games as he had in his previous 42 outings for the club.
The Ghana international really has made a rapid start to life under Alfred Schreuder and that couldn’t have been any clearer than with his two goals against SC Heerenveen on Saturday.
Following up a goal and an assist in the Champions League against Rangers in mid-week, Kudus bagged Ajax’s third and fourth strikes on a lucrative day for the reigning champions.
Kudus’ stunning skill
However, even more impressive than his goals was a gorgeous piece of skill from the 20-year-old which has gone viral on social media and frankly, we could do with some help trying to explain.
During his Man of the Match performance in the Dutch capital, the young Ajax star channeled Ronaldinho by flicking the ball up into the air and then out to the side in one instant flashy movement.
It was, truth be told, exactly the sort of skill move you see from professional freestylers in their local cage, not in the middle of a top European game, so be sure to bask in Kudus’ tekkers down below:
Video: Kudus channels Ronaldinho with superb skill for Ajax
Side note: This pass from Mohammed Kudus was ridiculous 😮💨pic.twitter.com/0mh3zreLk8
— Owuraku Ampofo (@_owurakuampofo) September 10, 2022
Yup, let’s just smash the replay button another ten times… it can’t hurt.
A great showcase of Kudus’ skills
Now, what that first cut of the video sadly doesn’t show is that Kudus’ remarkable skill move did indeed find its intended target with Davy Klaassen duly able to head the ball back from whence it came.
And while, sure, it might ultimately have been quite innocuous in the broader context of the game, let’s not be so numb and boring as not just appreciate an outrageous piece of skill like that for its sheer audacity.
It’s by no means an instant barometer of how Kudus is going to perform at the very highest level, but when you marry it to just how superb he’s already been this season, it’s not completely irrelevant either.
And no doubt they’ll already be plenty of young Ajax fans trying to replicate the trick in their back gardens this morning. Good luck to say, mind, because I’d probably end up breaking a leg.
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