The rising Dutch star Cody Gakpo is joining the Premier League as Liverpool have reached an agreement to sign him for a fee between £35 million and £45 million from PSV.
A PSV statement on Monday said: “PSV and LFC have reached an agreement on the proposed transfer of Cody Gakpo.”
“The 23-year-old attacker will leave for England imminently, where he will be subjected to the necessary formalities ahead of the completion of the transfer,” the Dutch club added.
Liverpool’s rivals Manchester United were interested in Gakpo in the summer, when they instead signed Antony from Ajax, but reports suggested they were considering a move for the Netherlands international in the upcoming January transfer window.
United boss Erik ten Hag wants to sign a forward in January following Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit, saying: “We are aware we lost a striker, so I think we have to get a striker in, but it has to be the right one.”
Before PSV released their statement, it was understood Liverpool were in advanced talks with the Dutch side about the transfer as they looked to bring in another attacking player following long-term injuries to Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota.
The transfer window opens on Sunday January 1 for clubs in England and Scotland and if all the necessary paperwork is completed then Gakpo could be in line for a Liverpool debut on January 2.
The Reds need a boost badly
Gakpo may prove to be the boost that the Reds require to revitalise their season. They are currently at the sixth spot on the table with 25 points – five points behind the fourth placed Tottenham and 15 behind the leaders, Arsenal.
However, there are other elements that come into the equation. It’s tempting to believe Liverpool are signing Gakpo to spite Manchester United, given their rival’s reported interest in the 23-year-old, but it’s likely that injuries within Jurgen Klopp’s squad are far more of a factor.
Luis Diaz suffered a setback in his return from a knee injury earlier this month, with Klopp describing the news as a “proper smash in the face”.
The Colombia winger has not played since October 9 and there is no official timeframe on his return, while Diogo Jota is expected to be out until February with a calf injury. Roberto Firmino is also out until early next month with an injury of his own.
As a result, Liverpool’s forward options are reduced to Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made a rare start in the front three during the 3-1 win at Aston Villa on Boxing Day, while Fabio Carvalho, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones – who is also currently injured – can also line up as wide forwards.
With Liverpool looking to make up ground in the race for the top four in the Premier League, as well as competing in the FA Cup and Champions League, the need to add to Klopp’s forward options amid so many injuries was clear.
Liverpool and their manager may also have assessed the impressive impact made by Diaz after his arrival from Porto in the previous January window and decided that the potential for Gakpo to do something similar was too big to ignore.
He has everything to become a star
Gakpo’s stock increased at the World Cup with three goals in five appearances before the Netherlands were knocked out at the quarterfinal stage on penalties to Argentina.
During the World Cup, Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal said “Cody Gakpo has everything it takes to become a star” and the forward certainly looks like he is on the fast track to the top of the game after backing up his brilliant Eredivisie form in Qatar.
A goal in each group stage game – one with his head, one with his left foot and one with his right foot – was testament to his rapidly improving play in the final third, appetite for the big stage and versatility.
But those traits haven’t come about by chance – Gakpo is meticulous about his development, even hiring a personal tactics coach to analyse his game. His steadily rising goals- and assists-per-90 minutes stats for his club show that extra homework is paying off.
That mentality will have impressed his suitors as much as his league-topping tally of goals and assists. At 23, Gakpo is already at a high level – but has the determination to get even better. That makes him an attractive investment.
Gakpo has all the attributes required of a modern forward and after his perfect treble at the World Cup had clubs across Europe scrambling for his signature before Liverpool won the race.