Man Utd warned Gakpo could emulate their worst summer signing, as five issues highlight Ten Hag contradiction

Cody Gakpo of PSV Eindhoven during the UEFA Champions League play-off match between PSV Eindhoven and Rangers FC at Phillips Stadium Credit: Alamy
Cody Gakpo of PSV Eindhoven during the UEFA Champions League play-off match between PSV Eindhoven and Rangers FC at Phillips Stadium Credit: Alamy

A Man Utd reporter picked out five pressing issues surrounding Cody Gakpo the Red Devils must wrestle with, and claimed the Dutchman may wind up emulating the worst signing they made last summer.

Manchester United have accelerated their plans to bring new firepower on board. A centre-forward was on the agenda for next summer, though Cristiano Ronaldo’s premature exit has brought a January coup into focus.

Predictably, United have been linked with all manner of forwards, wingers and strikers. However, the one player who United’s interest in is irrefutable is Cody Gakpo.

Indeed, Gakpo previously revealed United were in repeated discussions over a move last summer. The Red Devils ultimately opted to sign Antony instead, though Gakpo remains a wanted man.

He’s returned better than a goal contribution per game for PSV Eindhoven this season and has three goals to his name for Netherlands in Qatar.

Gakpo’s price tag seems to rise each week in lieu of his on-field exploits. Indeed, FootMercato recently claimed PSV’s valuation has increased to £65m.

A January move has been touted despite the spiralling cost. However, according to the Manchester Evening News’ Samuel Luckhurst, United may be wise to steer clear altogether.

Cody Gakpo not all he’s made up to be?

Explaining why, Luckhurst pointed to five factors, the first being United’s last window.

Since Ten Hag took charge, the club have strongly pursued both Dutch stars as well as those from the Eredivisie.

One player who ticks both boxes in that regard is Tyrell Malacia who Luckhurst claimed has been their weakest outfield recruit from the batch that arrived last summer.

Furthermore, the journalist stressed the lower level of the Dutch league is making Gakpo look better than he is, as perhaps it did with Malacia too.

Luckhurst also poured cold water on Gakpo’s heroics in Qatar when claiming much of the Netherlands’ success is in fact down to Louis van Gaal.

Finally, the reporter reminded everyone Gakpo is primarily a left winger and not an out-and-out centre-forward, and also detailed a Ten Hag contradiction.

Man Utd sent five-point warning

When asked if Man Utd could sign Gakpo in a Q&A, Luckhurst wrote: “It’s not beyond the realms of possibility. Although it’s inadvisable to sign a player on the back of a tournament.

“United can always play the summer card, as they did hold informal discussions then about Gakpo. John Murtough has a relationship with Gakpo’s agent as he is also, conveniently, Ten Hag’s agent.

“Ten Hag’s hit-rate with transfers so far has been excellent and Bruno Fernandes (a January addition) was the difference in United qualifying for the Champions League in 2020.

“So there is a compelling case to sign a forward. And that is without factoring in Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure. United needed an attacker if he was still lingering as last season was Ronaldo’s last hurrah. He was dreadful for United in his last month or so – on and off the pitch.”

But while United are clearly in need of more firepower, Luckhurst fired a word of warning about Man Utd’s new obsession with Eredivisie signings, and specifically Dutch players.

“The word of warning is, as Eredivisie-centric as United’s summer window was, their weakest outfield signing has been the only Dutchman (not that Malacia is anywhere near a write-off),” continued the journalist.

“This is not a vintage Netherlands team. They are punching above their weight again thanks to Louis van Gaal (as they did in 2014) and, as good as Gakpo looks, my personal feeling is United need someone with greater pedigree and who is also left-footed.

“Also: guess where Gakpo has started every game for PSV this season? The left wing (yes, he can/does play centrally for the Netherlands).

“So United would be contradicting themselves, as Ten Hag concluded they had too many right-footed forwards.”

Gakpo is right-footed, as is Rashford, Martial, Sancho, Elanga and Garnacho. In fact, the only left-footed forward currently on the club’s first-team books is Antony.

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