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Cody Gakpo has so far been rewarded and proved right for his summer decision to remain in the Netherlands despite a host of European clubs being keen on signing him.
The 23-year-old was one of the most sought after players, with Manchester United, Leeds, Southampton and Real Madrid all interested in gaining his signature. The exciting attacker chose to instead remain in Eredevisie in order to gain consistent game time ahead of the World Cup, however.
His World Cup debut goal in a 2-0 win against Senegal demonstrated that the right decision was made. Gakpo got onto the end of Frenkie de Jong’s clipped cross, beating Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to the ball before flicking home for the opener.
That was already his 16th goal of the season in all competitions, added to his 18 assists for club and country, and it’s easy to see why PSV Eindhoven were so keen to keep him over the summer.
It wasn’t just his goal that caught the attention either, his all-round linkup play helped Louis van Gaal’s men to an important victory against the other strongest team in Group A, on paper, and could prove vital for the outcome of the group.
Gakpo offered an attacking option on the ball in good areas but wasn’t given much help by former Tottenham duo Steven Bergwijn or Vincent Janssen and was just another indication of the quality he has. Having pushed for him all summer, Arsenal will be wishing they had got a deal over the line, especially in order to avoid the competition and to get ahead of the queue.
Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano doesn’t think that the goalposts will change when it comes to a deal in 2023 though, as he tweeted: “Cody Gakpo remains one to watch for 2023 on the transfer market — he has now scored or assisted 33 goals in all competitions this season.
“PSV Eindhoven want around €50m (£43m) package for Gakpo, as last summer — when Man Utd decided to invest on Antony as priority.”
The Gunners may well have been helped by the Red Devils’ choice to pursue Ajax for Antony as it paves the way for a run at Gakpo. With Mikel Arteta’s men sitting pretty at the top of the top of the table there isn’t much to complain about, but with fixtures set to come thick and fast after Christmas, Gakpo’s added flair would be a welcome addition.
Antony moved for £80million over the summer and Gakpo has more experience and comparable stats in his home country, so a deal for almost half the price would be a great catch for Arsenal in the circumstances.