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C. Gakpo

Gakpo to the Premier League! Which club needs the Netherlands’ World Cup star most?

11:00 GMT+3 03/12/2022
Cody Gakpo Erik ten Hag Jurgen Klopp Netherlands 2022 World Cup GFX
The £50 million-rated PSV Eindhoven forward is wanted by a host of clubs, including Manchester United...

It’s fair to say that Cody Gakpo has lived up to his billing so far at the 2022 World Cup.

With three goals in three games – one with his head, one with his left-foot and one with his right – the Netherlands forward has been one of the stars of the group stage, and he will be looking to continue his scoring form as the Oranje take on the USA in the last 16 on Saturday.

Gakpo arrived into the tournament with a reputation as one of the up-and-coming stars of European football and the 23-year-old’s performances for PSV Eindhoven this season, where he has been directly involved in 29 goals in all competitions, have attracted the attention of a host of clubs across the continent.

That interest will only strengthen given his showings in Qatar, with rumours already circulating that a January move could be in the offing. 

But where might he end up? Who can afford him, who needs him the most and who is likeliest to make their move?

GOAL runs through the options…

  • Erik ten Hag

    Manchester United

    We’ll start with the obvious, shall we? United are favourites, with the bookmakers at least, to land Gakpo, having been heavily linked with a move last summer.

    Erik ten Hag is a fan, and the Red Devils are most definitely in need of a striker following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo. They have the means, they have the need and they have a manager who knows the player well. It looks a good fit, even if they could have had him for far less than the rumoured £50 million ($61m) fee a few months back.

    “For him, joining United, that would be a great move,” Jaap Stam, the former United and Netherlands defender told GOAL, in association with Football Betting.

    “He has got the ability to make that next step, to go abroad and join a big team. Ten Hag knows him as well, of course, he knows what he can bring because he’s played against him several times with Ajax. 

    “United are always looking for players that can be an influence in that side – especially young players that can develop and have a big impact. For him, it’s going to be good to make that next step.”

  • Frenkie de Jong

    Barcelona

    How about joining the long list of Dutch stars to have tried their luck at Camp Nou, then?

    The likes of Johan Cruyff, Patrick Kluivert, Ronald Koeman, Frank and Ronald de Boer, Edgar Davids, Marc Overmars and Philipp Cocu all represented Barca, and Gakpo would appear to have the skillset to thrive in La Liga. He can play across the forward line, has a good touch and awareness and can score and create goals.

    The presence of current international teammates Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay should not be seen as too significant a factor – both are likely to depart in the coming months – and there is no obvious need for Barcelona to sign Gakpo, with Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres, Ousmane Dembele and, for now at least, Depay all competing for forward spots. 

    And whether they'd even be able to register him, or indeed any new signing, at the moment must also be considered, given their financial issues.

  • Roberto Firmino Liverpool 2022-23

    Liverpool

    Another Premier League club linked with Gakpo is Liverpool, with some suggestions in Holland that talks have already been opened.

    GOAL understands such claims are wide of the mark, and that while Gakpo is a player who will be monitored by the Reds’ scouting team, he is not somebody that is being actively targeted.

    Liverpool’s priority, for now, is on midfielders, though they would almost certainly require a new forward if Roberto Firmino leaves on a free transfer at the end of the season. It would be a huge surprise if they were to move for Gakpo in January.

  • Jesse Marsch 2022-23

    Leeds United

    Had things turned out differently in the summer, Gakpo could already be playing in the Premier League at Elland Road.

    Having seen a proposed move to Manchester United break down, he was given the option of joining Leeds late in the transfer window – “it was a stressful period,” he said – only to end up staying at PSV.

    Leeds’ interest remains, as does their desperate need for a goalscorer, but whether Jesse Marsch’s side have missed the boat, with PSV’s asking price likely to have almost doubled since August, is another matter. The smart money says he's aiming higher.

  • Nathan Jones

    Southampton

    The same goes for Southampton, who were also in the running to sign Gakpo in the summer, and who like Leeds are in urgent need of a centre-forward.

    Saints have changed managers recently, with Nathan Jones replacing Ralph Hasenhuttl, and it remains to be seen whether that affects their transfer plans.

    Don't expect them to return for Gakpo, though. Piet Buter, their scout, has already stated that a move is now “unfeasible” and “a hopeless story”. Ouch!

  • Alexander Isak Newcastle 2022

    Newcastle United

    What about the ultra-ambitious Magpies? Newcastle are a club on the rise since their Saudi Arabian takeover, and having started the Premier League season well, it is expected that they will look to strengthen again in January, with the prospect of a Champions League qualification spot tantalisingly on the horizon.

    They shelled out to bring in another bright young striker, Alexander Isak, in the summer, and Gakpo could also be attracted by the prospect of a move to the North East.

    He would, in theory, be the kind of signing Newcastle would be looking to make at this point – not quite top-tier, but young and gifted and capable of developing alongside the club.

  • Cody Gakpo Netherlands 2022

    The conclusion

    It appears a move to the Premier League is inevitable, if not in January then most certainly in the summer.

    With that in mind, and ruling out both Leeds and Southampton on financial grounds, the signs are that Gakpo will end up at Manchester United, as the latest piece of Ten Hag’s jigsaw.

    They certainly need a forward after Ronaldo’s exit, they have the funds available to make their move and they are building a team of young, hungry players, into which Gakpo would fit neatly.

    It is hard to see too many other candidates emerging. Arsenal and Tottenham, for example, have no need, while the likes of Bayern Munich, Juventus, Real Madrid and PSG can surely be ruled out. 

    For PSV Eindhoven, the decision to resist a summer sale looks to have been a masterstroke. They might have sold for £30m ($37m) in July, but they’ll be making a far tidier profit now after his World Cup heroics.