Cody Gakpo

Cody Gakpo has produced superhuman (or Erling Haaland-like) numbers for PSV in the Eredivisie this season and, whenever a player does that, clubs are bound to stand up and take notice. Only his elevated status across Europe has not exactly taken anyone by surprise.

Naturally, given his connections with Ajax and their rivals, Erik ten Hag was heavily linked with the 23-year-old this summer and some reports even suggested that talks might have been held. In the end, though, it was Antony who Manchester United set their sights on and Gakpo was made to wait for his golden opportunity.

Comments made by PSV director, Marcel Brands, indicate that might be around the corner, although next summer appears to be more likely for the Netherlands international to embark on a new adventure. It looks increasingly like that could be in the Premier League, too, but will United come calling?

“This is not Cody Gakpo’s last match against Ajax,” said Brands after PSV beat Ajax on Sunday afternoon. “Next year he will, also, play the match in Eindhoven against Ajax. If this will be his last away match with PSV against Ajax? Yes, that is a possibility.”

A green light for those on red alert. Gakpo has given potential suitors 30 reasons to pursue his services, comprising an astonishing 13 goals and 17 assists from 23 games in all competitions.

While that would be enough for scouts to jot down his name in a positive light, the talented left-sided winger has also underlined his leadership credentials this season. Indeed, in more than half of his appearances with PSV, he has worn the armband and done so with conviction.

He ticks several boxes for United and Dutch footballing royalty such as Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie – both of whom need no introduction at Old Trafford – have already given Gakpo their worthy seal of approval. Mind you, there might be a hint of (understandable) bias from Van Nistelrooy in his role as PSV manager.

On several occasions, the former United striker has lauded Gakpo for his reaction to whispers over his future and it has been underlined by his focus and devastating output this season. All the while, neutral Van Persie has explained exactly what Ten Hag would be getting should he swoop.

“He’s a good player and always finds a way in most games to have influence, in terms of getting an assist or scoring a goal. He’s always dangerous.

“He’s not really an out-and-out striker; he can play as number ten, on the [left] wing, as a false striker or on the right wing. He can play in those four positions in the front.

“Cody has a good physique. He’s strong, fast and can dribble, he’s an all-round player.”

From the outside looking in, Gakpo appears ready-made for the Premier League and those who have showered him with such praise know exactly what it takes to succeed on these shores. However, should United move for him they also need to be mindful of the problem his signature would bring.

Ten Hag and his coaching staff have worked wonders to rejuvenate Marcus Rashford this season and Jadon Sancho also appears more at home from the left-hand berth that Gakpo has taken up at PSV. While his versatility might well allow United to accommodate all three, they have to make sure it would benefit the collective.

Despite his return to form this campaign, Rashford looked lost on the right flank against Aston Villa and, so too with Sancho, it minimises their effectiveness in the United line-up. On paper, adding Gakpo to that list would present Ten Hag with even more thinking to formulate his attacking masterplan.

His goals and assists would be worth the headache. But it would also send a red flag to the current crop.

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