Erik ten Hag takes Man Utd interest in signing ‘very special’ forward to new heights as star lights up World Cup

Tyrell Malacia, Steven Bergwijn, Cody Gakpo Netherlands training

Manchester United have reportedly stepped up their efforts to sign a Netherlands forward currently lighting up the World Cup in Qatar.

PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo has made a big impression in the group stage of the tournament, scoring three goals to leave him joint top of the scoring charts in the race for the Golden Boot.

United showed a firm interest in bringing Gakpo to Old Trafford last summer, as was confirmed by PSV director of football Marcel Brands.

Earlier in November, the 23-year-old also admitted it would be an honour to play for the Red Devils.

Just two days ago he was quizzed again about a potential January switch but was more coy with his answer.

He told reporters: “I’m focused now on the World Cup. It’s always nice to hear but I just focus here and do my best.

“I don’t get shy about the rumours. It’s nice things that people write, but I’m not too concerned with that.

“I’m not surprised. I know what I’m capable of but it’s always a challenge to reach your highest level possible and I think I’m not there yet. I think I can improve in a lot of things.

“It’s a team sport, it’s not about one person. I prefer it to be about the team. Right now I’m busy with the Dutch team.

“I’ll see what happens in the winter. In soccer, anything is possible.”

Foot Mercato claimed last week that United plan to step up their efforts to secure Gakpo’s services. While, another match-winning display in the 2-0 win over Qatar on Tuesday saw the Dutch finish top of their group and set up a last-16 date with USA.

Gakpo qualities to strengthen United

And now former Netherlands international Kees Kist has heaped praise on the Red Devils’ target for his performances, highlighting the qualities that make Gakpo a potentially great catch.

“There is something very special about this boy, isn’t there? He can gradually make a difference at any position in the attack. At PSV, I mainly see him on the left flank, but I have said from day 1 that he has everything to operate as a striker. He fills the positions flawlessly,” Kist told De Telegraaf.

“He can shoot well, with left and right, and he can head! That is evident from the three different goals he scores in the group stage alone. But you also have to look at the moments when he scores.

“Cody drags Oranje through every time. When a goal needs to be scored, he gets up. That is so incredibly clever when you are only 23 years old.

“He walks around at this World Cup as if it were his umpteenth major tournament. But he just came to watch on this stage and should still have stage fright. None of that. I have pure admiration for him. Let’s be proud that we have such a versatile striker in Oranje.”

Should United try and make their move in January, they will not be the only suitors.

Premier League rivals Liverpool are also being linked with a swoop for the PSV man, while he was previously a major target for Leeds United.

One thing is for sure, United and Liverpool will both have scouts in attendance for the clash with USA to see if Gakpo excels again.

READ MORE: Romano reveals transfer truths on Man Utd links to Spanish keeper with January deal hopes explained