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Friday, January 27, 2023

Man Utd identify Cody Gakpo transfer alternative as Dutch star's price tag doubles

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Manchester United will have to pay £50million for Cody Gakpo next month – after the Holland star’s goalscoring heroics at the World Cup.

United were in for Gakpo in the summer, but decided instead to push for Ajax winger Antony, eventually paying £82million for the Brazil star.

PSV Eindhoven wanted £25m for Gakpo in the summer, but his three goals for Holland in Qatar, which have helped them reach the quarter-finals, have seen his transfer value double.

PSV, who are in the thick of the Dutch title race, do not want to lose Gakpo when the transfer window reopens in January, but will demand £50m if United come back in for him.

Having lost Cristiano Ronaldo last month and with Anthony Martial unreliable fitness-wise, United boss Erik ten Hag must recruit a striker in January.

Marcus Rashford has been in fine form for England at the World Cup, scoring three goals, but is likely to be given some time off post-Qatar.

Against that backdrop, United have identified several forward targets, with 23-year-old Gakpo top of the list and AC Milan and Portugal striker Rafael Leao also on their radar.

Join the debate! Do you think Man Utd should go all out to sign Gakpo in January? Let us know here.

Cody Gakpo has been starring for the Netherlands at the World Cup
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James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

If United cannot land Gakpo next month, they will switch their attention to Leao, 22, who plundered 14 goals for Milan last season and has seven already this term.

United have scored 20 goals in the Premier League this season. In the top 10 only Chelsea, with 17, have scored fewer.

Gakpo failed to find the net in Holland’s win over the USMNT on Saturday night, but he still caught the eye for Louis van Gaal’s side and was quizzed over the persistent talk linking him with a move away in the New Year.

Unsurprisingly, the coveted PSV forward was reluctant to discuss the prospects of leaving the Dutch giants and was coy with his response.

Portugal forward Rafael Leao is also on Manchester United’s radar
(
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“I have to be honest, I am not thinking about that now,” he said “I am focused on the tournament and want to keep performing well, to keep helping the team.

“Hopefully when we become world champions we can think about other things. I try to keep focused and the other players don’t really speak about that kind of thing.”

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk also fielded questions about Gakpo and took a swipe at Manchester United’s interest.

The centre-half said: “Are Manchester United and Real Madrid on the same level? No disrespect, not at all. I definitely think he has that next step in him. I definitely feel like it could happen, whether that is in the winter or the summer or next year, time will tell.

“He is a great boy who works hard, very talented and definitely there is more in him. We are so pleased he is doing so well for us. Long may it continue.”

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