Cody Gakpo appears to be a strong addition to any forward line in any of Europe’s top five divisions, at least on paper. His performance this year leading up to the World Cup has been really good. Yes, it is in the Eredivisie, but scoring 13 goals and dishing out 17 assists before Christmas is impressive in any top league.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Erik ten Hag chose Gakpo as his aim throughout the summer. The error made by the Manchester United manager may have been in not completing the transaction at the time.
Just before the transfer window closed, PSV Eindhoven was reluctant to part ways with their star player, which was understandable. Perhaps they were aware of what would occur during the winter.
Gakpo has so far demonstrated exactly what Ten Hag saw in him at the World Cup. His strength, speed, and deadly finishing ability all stood out during the Netherlands’ initial matches in Qatar, and United is presently the favorite to sign him in January, which should delight fans.
Since Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester earlier this week, there are now opportunities for replacements. The choice to split ways with Ronaldo was without a doubt the right one, but it has clearly left a gap that Gakpo is being mentioned as a potential candidate to fill.
Before Friday, the question of whether Gakpo would fit like a square peg in a round hole worried Reds supporters. The 23-year-old has had the most success for PSV playing on the wings, therefore United does not require any further insurance there.
However, Gakpo was able to directly fix this issue when playing Ecuador. The young player was paired with Steven Bergwijn in the center by Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal.
Van Gaal’s “experiment” was successful, and Reds supporters saw a performance that demonstrated just how valuable he could be to Ten Hag. Of course, one swallow does not constitute an entire season, but what it did demonstrate was that Gakpo is adaptable enough to support United as needed and is still young enough to be shaped.
Some people might prefer that United sign a classic center forward, and those arguments have merit. Gakpo is a talent, though, that United cannot afford to overlook, and if they do not sign him in January, they run the chance of losing him to an American or European opponent.