One doubt over Man Utd transfer target Cody Gakpo

Karan Tejwani
Karan Tejwani 13 Aug 2022 12:37 BST 3 min read
Cody Gakpo playing for PSV

Manchester United have been linked with a move for PSV star Cody Gakpo, as they look to bolster their squad in the final weeks of the transfer window.

The Red Devils are awaiting PSV’s results in their Champions League play-off against Rangers, which will determine whether they are in the competition proper next season.

Erik ten Hag is known to be an admirer of the 23-year-old winger, having seen first-hand what he can do as Gakpo was named Dutch Footballer of the Year for the 2021-22 season.

Gakpo scored 21 goals and provided 15 assists across all competitions last season, and is capable of playing across the front three, which is an appealing factor.

Man Utd have to be vary of one problem

However, there is one doubt over Gakpo’s talents: that he doesn’t often perform in big games, despite having a fair few big moments in his career.

The recent Champions League third qualifying round was an example of that, as he struggled against a stern Monaco side and could rely on others to get the Dutch side through.

Last season, in games in the first half of the season against top Eredivisie opponents, he often struggled, failing to make a mark in matches against Ajax and Feyenoord, with the former being a 5-0 defeat in Amsterdam.

A large chunk of his goal contributions came against lower-half Eredivisie sides last season, and beyond that, his overall performances in big moments were slightly disappointing.

Some of his best displays last season were against the likes of Waalwijk, NEC Nijmegen, and Sparta Rotterdam, who were closer to the relegation zones than the top half last season.

Additionally, he was anonymous yet again in Conference League matches against Leicester City, and this is something that will have to improve in the coming years.

Despite that, he ended the 2021-22 campaign positively, scoring in the KNVB Cup final against Ajax and twice against Feyenoord in the league to bolster his reputation.

Gakpo is still young, and there’s lots of room for improvement – as he grows into his starring role at PSV and becomes more of a regular for the Netherlands, there’s every chance this could change.

The Johan Cruyff Schaal success last month against Ajax was a good start, as he had a scoring return, and fans will be hoping that can continue for the coming months.

Manchester United need players who step up in big moments – there aren’t that many and the ones that did are struggling, adding another won’t help, which is why Gakpo needs to turn his fortunes around.

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