Monday, January 30, 2023

Louis van Gaal warning to Manchester United about Cody Gakpo emerge as Ten Hag pursue deal

Louis van Gaal warning to Manchester United about Cody Gakpo emerge as Ten Hag pursue deal

Attempting to sign a striker is proving more difficult than some Manchester United fans may have initially believed.

With less than two weeks to go until the January transfer window opens for business, United are being connected to a multitude of attackers to bolster their options for the second half of the season. 

The Reds will resume their season against Burnley in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. Manager Erik ten Hag has stated that he is determined to recruit a new goalscorer and boost the Reds’ offensive production.

However, as any football team or manager will attest, buying a striker is easier said than done. Strikers are the most expensive players and are subject to the greatest scrutiny every time they step onto the field.

In the present era, there is much more to being a center forward than scoring goals. However, they are graded and evaluated based on the amount of goals they have scored. However, scoring goals is a striker’s bread and butter.

Cody Gakpo, the standout forward for PSV Eindhoven, is unquestionably the most productive of the players United has been connected with to bolster their attack. This season, the 23-year-old has scored 13 goals and registered 17 assists in just 24 appearances for PSV. He scored three times in five games for the Netherlands in the World Cup in Qatar.

It is a remarkable record, regardless of the general level of the Eredivisie, so it is not surprising that he is garnering so much attention before to the January 1 transfer market opening. Numerous prestigious European clubs, notably Liverpool, have been linked to his signature.

United may be tempted to attempt to recruit Gakpo, who confessed that he held discussions with Ten Hag over the summer about the possibility of transferring to Old Trafford, but the Reds must keep in mind that he is not a striker. This season, the Dutchman has distinguished himself at PSV by operating on the left wing.

The left flank is his natural environment and where he performs best. Gakpo played as both an attacking midfielder and a striker for the Netherlands at the World Cup, indicating that he might transition to a striker role at Old Trafford.

Given his goal-scoring prowess, it is not inconceivable that Gakpo may adapt and become a seasoned striker; yet, he has no current interest in playing in that position. Louis van Gaal stated earlier this month that Gakpo had informed him that he did not want to play as a No. 10 or a striker.

“Cody is a very young player – he is 23 but looks younger,” said Van Gaal. “He has only been playing with PSV for two, three years and always played from the left.

“He did not want to play in the centre or at 10, but he did have to for me. Now he thinks I am a great head coach!”

Given how effectively Gakpo performed in a central role for the Netherlands in Qatar, Van Gaal was correct to bring him inside. It demonstrated to the attacker’s admirers how he could deliver  through the center.

Nonetheless, a handful of games cannot conceal the reality that Gakpo was hesitant to play in either of the aforementioned positions. It is natural that he is more comfortable playing on the left wing, given his track record for PSV over the past few seasons from that position.

United are desperate to add a striker to their roster next month and cannot afford to take a risk by signing a left winger to play in the role. The difference between signing a recognized striker and not signing one might have enormous implications for their Champions League aspirations.

United cannot afford to take such a risk, despite Gakpo’s undeniable talent and skill. They need a proven striker to spearhead their attack, no matter how tough it may be to locate someone who is both suitable and economical.

Louis van Gaal warning to Manchester United about Cody Gakpo emerge as Ten Hag pursue deal

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