Man Utd boss Ten Hag wants Cody Gakpo as ‘priority signing’ in January

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will supposedly look to offset Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure and Jadon Sancho’s uninspiring form during the January transfer window. With plans being formulated during the World Cup break, Ten Hag has supposedly upgraded his countryman, Cody Gakpo, to ‘priority’ status. 

Gakpo was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League during the summer with United, Leeds and Nottingham Forest all in the running. In the end, the Red Devils plumped for Antony and Gakpo opted to stay at PSV Eindhoven with the World Cup closing in. 

Prioritising football’s most prestigious international tournament has served him well so far, having scored the first goal in the Netherlands’ 2-0 win over Senegal earlier this week. Ten Hag is sure to keep a close eye on his performances for the remainder of the World Cup, including a potential meeting with England in the knockout stages. 

Foot Mercato claim that Ten Hag holds Gakpo as a ‘priority’ signing in January, with efforts sure to be focused on replacing Ronaldo, who recently saw his contract terminated by mutual agreement after lashing out at the club in a controversial interview with Talk TV host Piers Morgan. 

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Ronaldo had been downgraded to a bit-part player at Old Trafford this campaign with just four Premier League starts to his name. Nevertheless, a player of his experience and goal-scoring prowess will need to be replaced by the Red Devils to continue their top-four push. 

Athletic, explosive, 6t 3in tall and a good finisher, Gakpo is seen as an ideal replacement for Ronaldo, who shares many of the same characteristics. The 23-year-old Dutchman is also capable of playing across the frontline, which could bring him into competition with Sancho if the lone striker position is occupied. 

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Ten Hag would likely welcome a versatile attacking option with Sancho failing to inspire since signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2021. Gakpo’s prospective arrival would only make the Englishman’s job of establishing himself tougher, particularly with youngster Alejandro Garnacho pushing for more responsibility out wide. 

Gakpo has already racked up 10 senior appearances for the Dutch national team and over 100 league games for PSV. He’s currently top scorer in the Eredivisie with a colossal 21 goal contributions in his first 14 games this campaign, and the 12 assists in that total demonstrate that he’s far from a one-dimensional striker. 

PSV are thought to want no less than £52million if they cash in when the transfer window swings open in January. Leeds and Nottingham Forest are no longer in the running and the price tag could soar even further if Gakpo continues to find the back of the net in Qatar. 

Man Utd sit fifth in the Premier League table during the World Cup break and they’ll have to cope without Ronaldo for at least three games once domestic action resumes, with matches against Burnley, Forest and Wolves all scheduled before January 1. 

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