Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag abandons £80m target chase in favour of Arsenal-linked Cody Gakpo, with Man Utd success hinging on upcoming result

Netherlands and PSV Eindhoven winger, Cody Gakpo

Erik ten Hag has shifted his sights onto PSV Eindhoven forward Cody Gakpo, and whether Man Utd will succeed in their chase will hinge on upcoming results, per a report.

The Red Devils have landed three first-team arrivals thus far this summer. Tyrell Malacia will challenge Luke Shaw for minutes at left-back, while Lisandro Martinez will add steel and bite to the central defensive ranks.

Christian Eriksen looks a smart signing on a free. The classy Dane can play in either a deeper central role as he did at Brentford, or further forward if the situation dictates.

Frenkie de Jong remains the club’s primary target in midfield. The latest on the Dutchman’s pursuit – which is now in its third month – can be found here.

However, Manchester United are also known to be hunting a versatile forward amid the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese icon wants to chase his Champions League ambitions elsewhere, though as yet, concrete interest is in critically short supply.

Regardless, prior reports stated Ten Hag would pressure United’s board into signing Ajax winger Antony if Ronaldo did depart.

However, Ajax have been gutted in the market this summer and given so many major names have already left, they’re determined to generate maximum value from any additional moves.

Cody Gakpo takes precedent

According to the Mirror, that stance has resulted in Ajax placing a whopping £80m price tag on Antony. Per their reporting, that is a figure that has deterred United.

As a result, Ten Hag has been prompted into shifting his attentions to PSV Eindhoven flyer, Cody Gakpo.

The 23-year-old was heavily linked with both Arsenal and Leeds United earlier this summer. However, neither followed up on their interest, ensuring the Dutchman remained in Eindhoven for now.

The Mirror state £40m will be enough to make the PSV sing, though only once their Champions League fate is decided.

They face Monaco in the second leg of the third qualifying round on Tuesday, August 9. The first leg ended 1-1, and the report indicates they’d be open to selling if they miss out on UCL qualification.

Alternatively, if PSV – who are managed by ex-United hitman Ruud Van Nistelrooy – do progress, they will then face the winners of Rangers and Union SG’s tie in the play-off round. The suggestion is PSV would again be open to selling if they faltered at that stage.

If they progress to the group stage and bank a projected £60m, it’s unlikely Gakpo would be on the move.

Gakpo an indication of Ten Hag future

United looked a rejuvenated side going forward during their first pre-season under Ten Hag.

The interchange of movement and positions between the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial caused havoc among opposition defences.

What’s more, all three clearly took their manager’s demands for high intensity pressing on board.

Gakpo would mesh well with Ten Hag’s system and provide United with another hard working and versatile attacker.

His 21 goals and 15 assists across all competitions last season are also superior to the 12 and 10 notched by Antony.

At half the price of the Brazilian, Gakpo – who may wind up transitioning from a winger into a central striker during his career – looks smart business for United.