🚨 Arsenal were talking to Ajax about the signing of Mohammed Kudus last summer.

Charles Watts has admitted he would be “surprised” if Arsenal could afford a move for West Ham United winger Mohammed Kudus this summer.

The 23-year-old had an excellent first season in the Premier League, scoring eight goals and laying on six assists, but those displays have reportedly caught the eye of both the Gunners and Liverpool [The Athletic, 19 April].

 

While former Football London journalist Watts admits he isn’t certain if Mikel Arteta remains keen on bringing the Ghanaian to North London this summer, he believes they would struggle to match the Irons’ “huge” price tag.

Writing in his CaughtOffside column on Tuesday (4 June), he said: “Signing cover for the wide areas has long been on the agenda; we’ve seen that with the interest in Raphinha and Pedro Neto in the past, and Kudus was another player on that list.

“But they couldn’t stretch their budget, so their interest never really got off the ground. I don’t know if that interest still remains.

“Given the way he has performed since moving to West Ham since moving there, his price tag would be huge, and I would be surprised if Arsenal were able to go near that given what they are looking to do with other areas of their squad.”

 

West Ham are set to undergo a fairly big transition this summer as they begin to adapt under the management of Julen Lopetegui, but it seems unlikely the Hammers will be keen to let any of their biggest names depart.

With Lucas Paqueta’s future unclear following the charges levelled at him by the FA, the Irons probably can’t afford to lose Kudus this summer as that would leave them remarkably short of creative players.

On top of that, teams across the Premier League are having to deal with profit and sustainability regulations. With those rules in place, the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool are unlikely to shell out huge fees on single players.

Hopefully, Arsenal’s initial interest will be nothing more than just that. You would like to think West Ham would fight tooth and nail to keep the 23-year-old in East London even if a big offer arrived, as was the case with Declan Rice.

In other West Ham news, Emerson is reportedly ready to leave the London Stadium this summer amid links with a return to Roma

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