Premier League • England

Arsenal, Man City battle for thrilling Dutchman looms after club chief’s telling admission

Man Utd target Cody Gakpo

An Arsenal and Man City target could be on the move next summer after PSV’s director of football made a telling admission on his superstar’s future.

Man City made an addition to their forward line last month. Pep Guardiola’s side signed Argentine centre-forward Julian Alvarez, who was loaned straight back to River Plate until the summer. In contrast, Arsenal made a net loss in their final third when losing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona.

The pair experienced mixed fortunes in the winter window, though both were connected in their shared admiration for PSV’s Cody Gakpo.

The 22-year-old Dutchman plays primarily on the left wing for PSV. In the current campaign, he has plundered an impressive 10 goals and 11 assists across all competitions.

His rise to prominence in recent seasons has seen him break through into the Netherlands national side, with four caps earned last year.

Gakpo emerged on the radars of Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool last month. Though Liverpool’s signing of Luis Diaz will now see their interest subside.

Gakpo was reported to command a transfer fee of at least £25m. That could represent excellent value for whichever side chooses to roll the dice, and PSV chief John de Jong has set tongues wagging with his latest update on Gakpo.

De Jong relays Gakpo exit fears

Speaking to PSV TV (via Voetbal Primeur), De Jong confirmed the widespread interest in his exciting forward. He then admitted it will be difficult for PSV to retain their star man beyond the summer.

“Interest started early in the season, when he performed well, also with the Dutch national team,” said De Jong. “My goal is to keep him at all times for the season.

Arsenal ready for £200m+ spend this summer

Arsenal ready for £200m+ spend this summer

Arsenal are preparing to spend over £200m this summer with Isak, Calvert-Lewin and Ruben Neves their targets

“I don’t know how long we can keep him out of the hands of the big clubs in Europe. How he performs is the most important thing,”

Amid the interest from abroad, the forward agreed to fresh terms in Eindhoven on January 27. That extended his contract until the summer of 2026, though could be seen as PSV simply protecting their investment and strengthening their negotiating position ahead of a sale at a later date.

De Jong said of the contract extension: “That says a lot. A nice signal to players in the academy and in this group. The trajectory he goes through from youth player, to important basic player, to second captain is wonderful. . An example.”

Liverpool eye Arsenal’s ultimate prize

Meanwhile, Arsenal could be made to pay for their January business as Mikel Arteta’s prized asset Bukayo Saka is reportedly being eyed by Liverpool and Man City.

A total lack of European football this season has harmed the Gunners’ negotiating position in the market. Their squad is now weaker than when they entered January – something that could be fatal to their chances of securing fourth spot.

And according to ESPN, missing out may have dire consequences. That’s because the outlet states Liverpool and Manchester City could swoop for Saka if Arsenal don’t qualify for the Champions League.

Both clubs are said to be watching Saka. Jurgen Klopp’s side have already been heavily linked in recent weeks. However, Pep Guardiola’s admiration is a fresh discovery.

Arsenal are looking to tie the 20-year-old down to a new deal according to a report by Football.London. They want to upgrade his deal to reflect his importance to the side. His current terms will be quite outdated.

The attacker has 11 goal contributions across all competitions this term. Indeed, he has already netted more times this campaign than he did in the whole of last season.

READ MORE: Michael Edwards successor keeping tabs on French striker as Liverpool, Spurs January failure emerges