Manchester United struck a verbal agreement with the agents of PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo in the summer before pulling out of the deal to complete a move for Antony, according to reports. The Red Devils were heavily linked with Gakpo over the course of the window but ultimately opted to land Antony from Ajax, who was snapped up on a long-term contract in exchange for a transfer fee of around £85million.
Gakpo has been turning plenty of heads with his recent performances at PSV and is thought to be keenly admired by Erik ten Hag, who knows him well from his time in the Eredivisie while in charge of Ajax. United did explore the possibility of bringing him to Old Trafford in the summer and even reached an agreement with his representatives before withdrawing their pursuit in order to focus on Antony, according to Fabrizio Romano on The United Stand.
It is claimed that United’s hierarchy staged talks with Gakpo’s agents, who ended up verbally agreeing to the terms on offer, while the player himself was also ‘ready to say yes’ to the Red Devils. They considered the possibility of signing both Gakpo and Antony at one point, but PSV never received an official bid for the former in spite of United’s interest in his services.
Leeds went on to join the chase for Gakpo in the final hours of the summer window and were close to bringing him to Elland Road in a deal that would have reportedly cost the Yorkshire outfit around £38m. However, former United boss and current Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal was said to have successfully convinced the player to refuse the switch in order to stay at PSV for the time being.
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Although United eventually chose to pull the plug on their efforts to sign Gakpo, there is said to be a feeling that he could be targeted once again when the bidding re-opens in January. The 23-year-old has already chipped in with eight goals and six assists in just seven league appearances, with his scintillating form thought to have raised no shortage of eyebrows at Old Trafford over the last few weeks.
PSV director Marcel Brands, meanwhile, recently admitted that although Gakpo’s pre-season preparations were disrupted by United’s interest, he never felt as though the player would leave before the end of the summer window.
“Cody has had a difficult preparation with us because he has spoken with Manchester United, they didn’t come until mid-August and it didn’t go through,” Brands told Voetbal Primeur earlier this month.
“I even think Cody wouldn’t have left at the end of the transfer window if the right amount had been offered. There has been no bid that approached the lower limit of what we agreed with Cody.”
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