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Cody Gakpo has been tipped by Virgil van Dijk to take “the next step” in his career after impressing for the Netherlands in Qatar, but urged him to turn down Manchester United.
The Dutch defender was speaking after his team defeated the USA 3-1 in the World Cup last-16, which was the first time Gakpo failed to score in the tournament.
Gakpo was heavily linked with a move to Premier League with Leeds and Manchester United the two clubs interested in signing him.
Jesse Marsch revealed that Leeds almost got the deal done with it being 99.9% completed before collapsing in the last minute. Gakpo himself also revealed back in October that he was also very close to signing for Leeds after his move for Manchester United fell through. He told The Times (via Daily Mail):
‘I was close to leaving, I spoke to Erik ten Hag a few times at Manchester United.
‘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.’
Manchester United are still interested in signing him but now face stiff competition from a number of other clubs including Real Madrid.
Van Dijk commented on the speculation regarding Gakpo’s future after the win and said (via Evening Standard):
“Are Manchester United and Real Madrid on the same level? No disrespect, not at all.
“I definitely think he has that next step in him. I definitely feel like it could happen, whether that is in the winter or the summer or next year, time will tell.
“He is a great boy who works hard, very talented and definitely there is more in him. We are so pleased he is doing so well for us. Long may it continue.”
Liverpool are not in contention to sign the 23-year-old but that could change given that FSG have put the club for sale and new ownerships could bring in the financial resources to compete with the biggest names.
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