Cody Gakpo is an ideal signing for Manchester United, with The Telegraph reporting the Red Devils’ interest in the PSV Eindhoven forward.
Gakpo fits into the profile of a ‘modern striker’ laid out by Ralf Rangnick, a player who can play across the front three with pace and technical ability.
Available at a reported £35 million, what’s not to like? Well, Manchester United’s timing is badly off for a start.
PSV now have a crucial Champions League qualifier over two legs against Rangers, and the Daily Record report they will not sell Gakpo until afterwards, taking us up until August 24.
READ MORE: Confirmed Manchester United transfers, ins, outs, loans, releases for 2022/23
Photo by Perry vd Leuvert/NESImages/DeFodi Images via Getty Images
Late approach for Cody Gakpo
This is another fine mess United’s negotiating team has taken us into, in a summer when supporters are sick of the inept transfer handling by the club, once again.
If Gakpo had been identified more seriously as a transfer target earlier, we would not be in this situation.
A deal for the Dutchman could have been struck in June or July, giving PSV plenty of time to sign a replacement for their Champions League qualifiers.
Now, understandly, they don’t want to lose their star attacker on the eve of a two-legged tie which has huge finances and sporting repercussions.
United spent the best part of two months targeting Antony as a priority signing for the attack. But even this was left too late. Ajax had already sold key players and hiked up his price tag.
Gakpo had nearly twice the goal contributions as Antony and is available at half the price. United seem to have come around to the idea of signing him – but have made this decision too late.
To the wire
With PSV understandably putting a block on a deal for the next fortnight, Manchester United are now caught in a tough spot.
Do the club wait on Gakpo, or switch to an alternative who can be signed now? Waiting is a very high-risk strategy.
A win for PSV against Rangers could leave Gakpo with a very difficult choice. Having helped PSV qualify for the Champions League, does he walk away for the Europa League with Manchester United?
United have clearly made a crucial error by leaving this potential deal so late. It may get over the line, but it will be via luck rather than judgement.
Dan is still wondering what would have happened if United had kept Juan Veron…
Manchester United agree season-long loan deal with Queens Park Rangers for Ethan Laird