There’s something special about Kudus; why did Ten Hag pick Antony over him? – Peter Schmeichel

There’s something special about Kudus; why did Ten Hag pick Antony over him? – Peter Schmeichel

The summer transfer window of 2022 saw Erik ten Hag reunite with two of his former Ajax stars, Antony and Mohammed Kudus, albeit with different Premier League clubs.

While Antony joined Manchester United for a hefty £82 million fee, Kudus found himself at West Ham for a significantly lower price tag of £36 million.

However, the current form of the two players, particularly Kudus’ recent brilliance against his former boss, has sparked debate, with Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel questioning Ten Hag’s transfer priorities.

Ten Hag’s Familiarity and The Antony Deal

As you pointed out, Ten Hag’s time at Ajax saw him work closely with both Antony and Kudus, witnessing their immense potential firsthand. Antony’s directness, dazzling skill, and lethal right foot were well-known, making him a natural fit for Ten Hag’s attacking philosophy. The reunion at Manchester United was seen as a chance to unlock Antony’s full potential in a more competitive league.

The £82 million price tag raised eyebrows, but the hope was that Antony would replicate his Ajax form, providing United with much-needed creativity and firepower on the wing. However, his adaptation to the Premier League has been underwhelming. Inconsistency, defensive lapses, and a lack of end product have plagued his performances, raising questions about whether the hefty price tag was justified.

Kudus’ rise and Schmeichel’s doubts

Meanwhile, Kudus, initially viewed as a backup option for West Ham, has blossomed under David Moyes. His versatility has been a revelation, excelling in attacking midfield, central midfield, and even as a false nine. His technical ability, intelligent movement, and eye for goal have been on full display, culminating in a string of impressive performances, including a stunning brace against Manchester United.

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Schmeichel, after witnessing Kudus torment his former team, couldn’t help but voice his surprise at Ten Hag’s transfer decision. “There’s something about that boy [Kudus], he’s special,” Schmeichel declared. “I don’t get it, if he [Ten Hag] knows these boys very well, why did he pick Antony ahead of Kudus?”

Schmeichel’s point resonates. Kudus’ form and versatility arguably offer more to Ten Hag’s system than Antony’s current struggles. The Ghanaian’s £36 million price tag makes the comparison even starker. While it’s still early to judge definitively, the stark contrast between the two players raises questions about Manchester United’s transfer strategy and Ten Hag’s decision-making.

Beyond the Headlines: Evaluating the Transfer Saga:

As you astutely observed, dissecting the Antony-Kudus saga requires a nuanced perspective. Several factors come into play:

Different Roles and Systems: While both players possess technical skill and attacking prowess, their strengths and preferred roles differ. Antony’s directness thrives in a counter-attacking system, while Kudus’ versatility allows him to adapt to different tactical approaches. Ten Hag’s system at United might not be fully suited to Kudus’ skillset at this stage.

Adaptation to a New League: Adjusting to the Premier League’s intensity and physicality can be challenging for young players. Antony’s struggles could be attributed to this adaptation process, while Kudus might have benefited from a slightly less demanding environment at West Ham.

Managerial Vision and Squad Dynamics: Ten Hag’s long-term vision for Manchester United might involve building a squad around a specific type of winger, and Antony could fit that bill better than Kudus. Additionally, squad dynamics and existing players’ roles might have influenced the transfer decision.

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The Verdict: A Question Mark, Not a Full Stop:

Ultimately, judging the transfer saga definitively requires time and patience. Antony’s potential is undeniable, and he could still thrive under Ten Hag’s guidance. Kudus, on the other hand, needs to maintain his current form and prove his consistency at the highest level.

Schmeichel’s questioning is a valid reminder that transfer decisions, even those made by experienced managers, are not always straightforward. The Antony-Kudus saga serves as a fascinating case study in player evaluation, adaptation to a new league, and the complexities of transfer strategies.

While the current narrative favors Kudus, the story is far from over. Both players have the potential to leave a significant mark on the Premier League, and their respective journeys will be worth following closely.

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