Cody Gakpo has confirmed he “was close to leaving” PSV Eindhoven for Manchester United in the summer having held extensive talks with manager Erik ten Hag.
Gakpo was the subject of interest not just from United, but also Leeds and Southampton, but he has revealed that he opted not to leave PSV after the proposed deal to join Ten Hag at Old Trafford fell through.
“I was close to leaving, I spoke to Erik ten Hag a few times at Manchester United,” Gakpo told The Times.
“In the end, the deal didn’t go through, which was a shame, for me and my development, and because Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world, but also for PSV because to transfer a player to Manchester United is a good thing for the club.
“It ended about a week before the end of the transfer window and in that week I had to decide if I would go to Leeds or Southampton. In the end, I stayed, but it was a stressful period.”
Asked if it has been difficult to recover his focus having wanted the move to United, Gakpo explained that it could never be considered a “punishment” to play for his boyhood club.
“I always said if I stay here, it’s my childhood club. It’s not a punishment,” Gakpo added.
“I like being here, I want to win trophies here and do my best for the club. But if I got the chance to go to the Premier League or something, of course I would have to consider that option. At that time it was hectic for me but I recovered pretty quickly.”
United are now likely regretting their decision not to push harder for Gakpo, who has started the 2022-23 season in stunning form for club and country.
While the Red Devils toil in front of goal, managing just 13 goals in nine Premier League games, Gakpo already has 13 in all competitions for PSV, as well as 11 assists.
The 23-year-old is expected to play a big role for the Netherlands at the World Cup having notched a goal and an assist in the recent Nations League games against Poland and Belgium.