Manchester United have seen their prospects of signing Cody Gakpo suffer a blow – just as the club are reportedly preparing a handsome opening offer for the PSV Eindhoven flyer.
United boss Erik ten Hag has been forced to alter his transfer plans this summer in the wake of the Frenkie de Jong saga. The Red Devils have chased the Barcelona star long and hard, to no avail. And around three months later, they still appear no nearer securing the signature of the Barcelona star.
As such, United are moving quickly for alternative midfield targets. A deal for Adrien Rabiot is progressing nicely, with his mother and agent making clear her demands for her son on Tuesday. All being well, a deal for the Frenchman will be tied up before the end of the week.
With his signing only setting United back an estimated £17.5m, the club now has more funds to play with. To that end, United could also sign Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The Lazio star has long been on United’s radar; now a report on Tuesday night suggests his asking price is within United’s reach.
Ten Hag is also in the market for a new attacker to bolster his ranks. Too much emphasis was placed on Cristiano Ronaldo last season, with only Bruno Fernandes reaching double figures alongside the Portuguese superstar.
Indeed, poor seasons from Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial – who was loaned out – only exasperated the situation.
Antony had been Ten Hag’s top choice this summer. However, Ajax, having already lost one player to United this summer in Lisandro Martinez, put a huge price on his head.
That has forced United to look elsewhere – and a report on Tuesday claimed Gakpo was now on their radar.
Man Utd ready opening Cody Gakpo bid
The 23-year-old winger enjoyed a stellar 2021/22 campaign. The reigning Eredivisie Player of the Year scored an impressive 21 times in all competitions last season. He also weighed in with 13 assists, meaning he had a goal involvement every 1.3 games.
Well known to Ten Hag, Gakpo scored the winner in the KNVB Cup final to prevent Ajax recording a domestic double.
Now the two men could team up, with reports claiming Manchester United are preparing to submit an opening bid.
Indeed, PSV rpeortedly value Gakpo at around the £35m (€42) mark – a fee within United’s reach. Their opening offer will reportedly come at around the £30m mark, a fee they hope PSV will accept.
However, United’s task in convincing Gakpo to move to Manchester is that bit harder after developments on Tuesday night.
That’s after PSV took a significant step closer to the Champions League proper with a win over Monaco. With the game tied at 3-3 on aggregate and heading to penalties, a last-gasp Luuk de Jong goal fired the Dutch outfit through.
They now face Rangers – victors over Belgian side Union St Gilloise – for a place in the competition proper.
The offer of Champions League football is likely to have a heavy influence on Gakpo’s thinking.
He has made clear his wish to play in the competition. And given United are currently only able to offer Europa League football, that could present a problem.
Leeds latest over Gakpo revealed
The Red Devils are not the only side on Gakpo’s trail, either this summer.
He has already been strongly linked with Leeds United this summer, while Arsenal are also reportedly keen.
Jesse Marsch’s side are yet to make a formal offer for the PSV star, with their focus instead switching to Charles De Ketelaere.
And while that offer for De Ketelaere failed, they are reportedly considering going back in for Gakpo.
Of the three sides, they appear the least likely to win this particularly transfer race.
As such, Bleacher Report journalist Dean Jones reckons Leeds are far more likely to move for a central striker, rather than a winger like Gakpo.
Cody Gakpo on Manchester United's radar with the club in need of attacking reinforcements
Manchester United have made initial contact with the representatives of PSV winger Cody Gakpo, who contributed to 36 goals in all competitions last season.
“I’ve been told to expect that Leeds would sign a player that’s more likely to play through the middle as opposed to out wide,” Jones told GiveMeSport.
“So, given that, I wouldn’t really be expecting Gakpo to land.”
Jones is right. If Leeds do make another transfer splash, it is more likely going to be for a more central striker. To that end, they have been given an encouraging development over PSG’s Arnaud Kalimuendo.
As for Cody Gakpo, Manchester United will hope a firm offer, together with a handsome salary package, can help secure his signature.