The Dutch international ace has attracted Premier League attention while the 23-year-old has spoken directly about United’s interest in his signature. It comes after Gakpo emerged as a serious candidate under United boss Erik ten Hag, who is familiar with him due to their time as opponents in the Eredivisie.
Gakpo grabbed 12 goals and 13 assists in 27 league games last year and helped PSV to progress past Monaco in Tuesday night’s Champions League qualification match, with Luuk de Jong grabbing a 109 minute winner. That victory for Ruud van Nistelrooy’s side setup a playoff match against Scottish giants Rangers – who defeated Union Saint-Gilloise of Belgium – for a place in the competition’s lucrative group stages.
United legend Van Nistelrooy has proven influential in Gakpo’s development through PSV’s youth ranks and he is now at the helm of the Eredivisie heavyweight. He is desperate to keep hold of the forward as they club look to win the title for the first time since 2018, although it is likely to be dictated by the club’s financial position.
Their stance on Gakpo is likely to be dictated by the club’s status within the Champions League; should they qualify for the group stages – then their need to sell will be much less pressing. PSV’s continued presence in the knockout stages also severely reduces their chances of selling their prized asset – as they would prefer to wait until the end of that progress.
Gakpo explained to reporters this week that the club’s status within the competition would be crucial for his future beyond this summer: “We must first focus on [the second leg against Monaco] and try to make it to the Champions League.
“Then it is more likely that I will stay. I don’t think I have said anywhere that I am leaving, so there is definitely a chance that I will stay. I’m open for a cup of coffee with the management – or coffee for them and water for me. We’ll see how it goes.”
Gakpo is valued at around £40million having been named the Young Player of the Year in his homeland recently and would serve as an alternative to Ajax’s Antony, who the club are reluctant to sell hence their hefty £80million valuation.
Ten Hag wants Antony in his ideal XI at Old Trafford and the Brazilian forward wants to be reunited with his former coach having put pressure on Ajax to consider allowing him to join the Red Devils in this summer window. However, Ajax’s valuation of the player makes any move this summer unrealistic without serious compromise.
United’s need for attacking reinforcements is urgent. Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave United just one year after his return to Old Trafford while Edinson Cavani was among a glut of first-team exits from the club this summer – hastening the need to bring in a new forward.
Ten Hag was tight-lipped when asked to shed light on United’s plans to bolster their forward line in the final three weeks of summer transfer window. “I don’t go into names because I think, in this pre-season, 250 players are involved or linked to Man United,” the former Ajax manager told reporters post-match. “We have two strikers, maybe a third one with [Marcus] Rashford as well, you could see him as a striker.