Cheeky Barcelona ploy sees Ten Hag accelerate Man Utd transfer plan for £35m attacker, as Plan B considered

Cody Gakpo in action for PSV Eindhoven in Europa League clash v FC Zurich Credit: Alamy
Cody Gakpo in action for PSV Eindhoven in Europa League clash v FC Zurich Credit: Alamy

Erik ten Hag is ready to push forward with Manchester United’s interest in Cody Gakpo after reports indicated Barcelona are planning a player-plus-cash approach to win the transfer race.

The in-form PSV frontman is regarded as one of European football’s most-sought after stars. Gakpo enjoyed an outstanding 2021/22 season, scoring 21 goals and adding 15 assists as he was named Eredivisie Player of the Year. Gakpo also scored an outstanding winner in the KNVB Cup final to deny Ten Hag a domestic double with Ajax.

This season, however, Gakpo appears to have taken his game to a whole new level. And Gakpo already has 27 goal contributions this season, surpassing the tallies of Erling Haaland (25) and Lionel Messi (23).

Truth be told, PSV know they cannot keep Gakpo for too much longer. Interest in the player was strong over the summer with United holding talks with the 23-year-old. And while Gakpo himself has revealed just how close a move came, United ultimately decided to put their interest on ice.

That allowed both Leeds and Southampton to chance their arm – and it was the Whites who came close to his signing.

Sadly for the Yorkshire side, Fabrizio Romano has explained why Gakpo now looks out of their reach.

And with interest in Gakpo growing, a report has revealed that PSV will likely have no choice to sell – and for a mind-boggling low-cost fee.

However, the cut-price fee required to land Gakpo has, understandably, alerted other suitors besides United.

And per Sport, Barcelona are also registering their interest in bringing the Dutchman to Camp Nou.

The LaLiga giants are not blessed with funds but reportedly believe they can land Gakpo by offering Memphis Depay as part of the deal.

Ten Hag springs into Cody Gakpo transfer action

The 28-year-old star has become a bit-part player this season, featuring in just three games.

And Memphis is desperate to move on after being frozen out of Xavi’s first-team plans. He was the subject of interest from Tottenham and Galatasaray over the summer, though a move did not prevail.

However, a return to his former club could suit all parties, with PSV landing themselves a ready-made replacement.

Depay began his career at the Philips Stadion, scoring 50 times over four seasons before sealing a move to Old Trafford.

Now news of Barcelona‘s interest in Gakpo has reportedly triggered Ten Hag into action.

Signing a new attacker was reportedly not a priority for Ten Hag in January. Indeed, his immediate focus is reportedly on landing a new right-back and possibly a new goalkeeper if funds allow.

But Barcelona’s interest appears to have sprung Ten Hag into action. And according to journalist Dean Jones, the Red Devils are very much still hot on Gakpo’s trail.

He told Givemesport: “If you have got [Marcus] Rashford on the left, competing with [Jadon] Sancho. If you’ve got Antony on the right, you’ve also got [Anthony] Elanga on the right.

“And at the moment you’ve [Anthony] Martial and [Cristiano] Ronaldo as the two main striker options. There is talk of a third – I don’t exactly think that’s where Gakpo fits in – but there’s no doubt United are still interested in him.”

United also watching Martin Terrier

United are also reportedly considering other possibilities should they miss out on Gakpo. And one player who is reportedly catching their eye is Rennes frontman Martin Terrier.

The Frenchman, 25, finished third only to Wissam Ben Yedder and Kylian Mbappe in the Ligue 1 scoring charts last season. Indeed, the 21 goals he scored drew admiring glances from the likes of Leeds and Everton.

Rennes’ £45m asking price ultimately put paid to their plans. And Terrier’s stay has been to their benefit once again. Indeed, the attacker already has 11 goal and four assists from 18 appearances this season already.

As a result, United are reportedly keeping a close eye on his development with regards a potential future move.

And while a more pricey option than Gakpo, Ten Hag may feel he’s more suited to operating in a central striker’s position.

Indeed, Terrier can operate either centrally, or as an inverted forward cutting in off the left flank.

United are not his only suitors, though. As well as Leeds, Arsenal and Newcastle are also reportedly in the race for the former France youth international.

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