Cody Gakpo admits to Man Utd transfer talks before Liverpool swooped in with surprise £44m deal

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Cody Gakpo Liverpool 2022-23
Cody Gakpo has revealed that he discussed a move to Manchester United with Ruud van Nistelrooy before completing a transfer to Liverpool.
  • Dutch forward attracted plenty of interest
  • Red Devils were keen at one stage
  • Ended up at Anfield in January

WHAT HAPPENED? The Netherlands international forward was one of the most sought-after talents in European football after registering 21 goals and 15 assists for PSV in the 2021-22 campaign. United appeared to be very much in the hunt for his signature at one stage, with Red Devils legend Van Nistelrooy on hand in Eindhoven to offer useful advice, but no deal was done in the last summer window.

WHAT THEY SAID: Gakpo has said of the interest shown in him from Old Trafford: “To be honest, I spoke to [Van Nistelrooy] a lot about United in the summer when the transfer looked like it may be coming. But in the winter, not really. It was Ruud’s wish that I went to a big club - and I think I have achieved that with Liverpool. There was a lot of speculation in the summer. It was the first window where it was possible to move and so, yes, it affected me a little bit. But then there was one moment when I just said: 'Forget about it, play your best game, and maybe it will happen next summer or in the winter'. That's what I tried to do and it went well.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Gakpo ended up in the Premier League when making a £44 million ($53m) move to Liverpool at the start of the January window, with the Reds' approach coming as something of a surprise to the 23-year-old – who starred for his country at the 2022 World Cup. He added: “I heard about Liverpool's interest - and I think five days later the deal was done. My manager and brother knew about it for a longer time, but I said to them at the World Cup not to tell me anything because I have to focus. As soon as I heard about the interest, the feeling was: 'Come on, let's go'. You have a second Christmas Day? Boxing Day, right? I was with the family - including nieces and aunties - and I was getting calls all the time about Liverpool. But on Christmas Day, I was not on my phone. That is a very important day so the phone was away. It was the very next day that it happened.”

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WHAT NEXT? Gakpo is still in the process of finding his feet at Anfield, with no goal contributions made through six appearances heading into a Merseyside derby date between Liverpool and Everton on Monday.