A report from The Athletic has revealed why Man Utd decided against moving for Cody Gakpo before the forward completed his transfer to Liverpool.
It was announced on Wednesday evening that Gakpo has completed his move to Liverpool.
They will pay an initial £37m and this fee could rise to £44m. He has penned a five-and-a-half-year contract.
After the transfer was confirmed, Gakpo suggested that he is eager to “develop” at Liverpool.
“I’m looking forward to start training and start playing for this amazing club,” he told the Reds’ website.
“I think this is a great club for me to come in and try to show what I can (do) and try to help the team to achieve more beautiful moments that they already did in the past years.
“I think for me personally, it’s also good to develop here and there’s a lot of great players here (who) I can learn a lot of things from.”
The 23-year-old has been in stunning form for PSV and the Netherlands this season and it was initially expected that he would join Man Utd in January.
The Red Devils decided against bringing him in during the summer but they reportedly renewed their interest in Gakpo following Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit.
But The Athletic are reporting that United ‘decided that they could not afford Gakpo’ in January after they spent over £200m on signings in the summer.
Man Utd also ‘questioned Gakpo’s suitability as a centre-forward to replace the departed Cristiano Ronaldo, given he operates mostly on the left’.
It is said that this trepidation gave Liverpool a ‘free run’ at Gakpo and they ‘pounced to capture a player six months earlier than originally planned’.
The report notes that this is ‘reminiscent of them beating Tottenham Hotspur to sign Luis Diaz from Porto a year ago’.
The potential total cost for Diaz could be £50m and Liverpool ‘stretched themselves’ again to secure a deal for Gakpo earlier than initially planned.
Liverpool are aware that he is ‘far from the finished article’ but the youngster offers a ‘double threat’ as he likes to ‘score and assist in equal measure’.
The Athletic add that Gakpo’s Netherlands teammate – Virgil van Dijk – ‘played an important role’ in the transfer.
The defender has ‘spoken to Gakpo about playing for Liverpool and working under Klopp’ and he has also ‘talked glowingly’ about the forward to his ‘colleagues at Anfield’.
Earlier this month, Van Dijk suggested that Gakpo “definitely has a next step in him”.
“Are Manchester United and Real Madrid the same level at this moment? No disrespect, not at all.
“I think he definitely has a next step in him. I definitely feel like it could happen. Whether it happens in the winter or next year, time will tell. But he’s a great boy.
“(He) works hard, is very talented and there’s definitely more in him. We are very pleased he’s doing so well and long may it continue.”
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