Man Utd told primary Ten Hag target won’t get a kick for Liverpool, as major source predicts winner of transfer battle

Erik ten Hag, October 2022

A Liverpool legend has explained why Man Utd target Cody Gakpo wouldn’t make Jurgen Klopp’s starting eleven, while Gianluca Di Marzio has predicted who’ll win the race to sign the Dutch forward.

If Gakpo wasn’t already a man in demand prior to the World Cup, he certainly is now. The Netherlands forward shone in Qatar and was tasked with leading the line by Louis van Gaal.

Primarily a left winger, Gakpo deputised up front and top-scored for the Oranje with three goals.

Gakpo was heavily linked with Manchester United over the summer on the back of his fine displays for PSV Eindhoven. Indeed, Gakpo admitted he spoke several times with Erik ten Hag, though the former Ajax boss prioritised signing Antony instead.

That pushed United’s plans back until 2023, though they’re expected to try their luck in January following Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit.

PSV are believed to value Gakpo around the €75m (approx. £67m) mark off the back of his World Cup exploits. Man Utd have the financial might to secure a deal, though Liverpool too have been linked.

Indeed, the Reds have their own issue to contend with following the news Luis Diaz will miss another three months of action. The Colombian suffered a setback in his return from a knee injury and has undergone a second surgery.

Liverpool were mentioned alongside Gakpo even before the Diaz blow. Klopp’s assistant, Pep Lijnders, is known to be a big admirer of Gakpo and both he and Klopp have taken a more hands-on approach to Liverpool transfers over the last 12 months.

Now, speaking to, the respected Gianluca Di Marzio weighed in on Gakpo’s future.

Di Marzio predicted a transfer battle between the two English giants and detailed which club he’d suit best. He also suggested one club in particular may have already opened discussions and as such, are the favourites at present.

Man Utd, Liverpool tussle expected; winner hinted

When asked where Gakpo would fit best given he’s also been linked to Real Madrid, Di Marzio replied: “At Manchester United or Liverpool.

“He fits perfectly with Klopp’s playing style at Liverpool. But perhaps even better at Manchester United, now that they no longer have access to Cristiano Ronaldo.

“There is room for a player like him and for Gakpo now is the right time to move to the Premier League.

“Only Premier League clubs can afford him, because PSV asks a lot of money for him.

“So I think it will be a battle between Manchester United and Liverpool. Maybe in January, but I don’t think so.

“I expect that we will be dealing with a ‘different’ market in January. It will probably be the summer, but it is quite possible that Manchester United are already starting negotiations, because they have to replace Ronaldo.”

Cody Gakpo wouldn’t crack Liverpool XI – John Barnes

But while Di Marzio is predicting a Liverpool v Man Utd battle to sign Gakpo, Reds legend John Barnes has urged his former club to steer clear.

Via the Liverpool Echo, Barnes insisted Gakpo would not start for Liverpool – even despite Diaz’s injury.

Klopp will likely select Mohamed Salah on the right wing and Roberto Firmino up front when domestic football returns. That’ll place Darwin Nunez on the left wing with Diogo Jota also injured at present.

Barnes suggested Gakpo would therefore only be a “squad player” at Anfield and warned Liverpool fans not to overlook Jota when he returns from injury in late-January.

“A lot of top clubs will be interested in Cody Gakpo because he played amazing for the Netherlands during the World Cup,” said Barnes.

“Gakpo needs to decide if he wants to play regularly when choosing a new club. Because if he joins Liverpool he will not be able to get into the starting eleven.

“There are a lot of good players in that position in Liverpool so he would only be a squad player.

“So, it really depends on what Gakpo wants. Not many clubs have the same attacking strength that Liverpool has and he needs to consider if he wants to play week in week out or sit on the bench.”

The former England international continued: “We need to remember that Liverpool also has Diogo Jota and a lot of other players that can play that position.

“So, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Liverpool has to buy a new player. Jota was a key player and now he is not even being mentioned anymore.

“Jota is a fantastic player and he can play that role very well. We also have Fabio Carvalho and Harvey Elliot that can fill the gap.

“We have enough coverage on that position, so Liverpool should not try to get a new player.”

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