Following a hard fought victory over Aston Villa last night, Paul Joyce broke the news of Liverpool’s interest in PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo. Barely an hour later, the official Twitter account of the Dutch club had confirmed the deal was done!

It happened in double quick time. Liverpool have form for pulling off moves from virtually out of nowhere and this is right up there. All season long, the 23 year old had been linked with a move to Manchester United, with Erik Ten Hag making him a number one transfer target.

Indeed the Red Devils’ made their move the previous window, with the player even acknowledging just how close he came to a transfer.

Gakpo: “I was close to leaving (in the summer). 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.”

It is quite the coup for Liverpool, with the transfer fee of £37million rising to £44million in add-ons a potential steal for one of the hottest prospects in Europe at the minute. Just who is Cody Gakpo though, and what has been his career trajectory thus far? We take a look.

Cody Mathès Gakpo was born on May 7th, 1999 in Eindhoven to a Togolese father and a Dutch mother. He joined the youth ranks of his local club PSV in 2007, before progressing over the years to the reserves and then finally to the first team.

Gapko was handed his first team debut by Dutch legend Mark van Bommel, as a late substitute in a 3-1 win over Feyenoord in the 2017/18 season. It was a dream come true for the then 18 year old, but that was only just the beginning.

It wasn’t till the 2018/19 season that Gapko truly broke through to the first team. He made 19 appearances across all competitions (4 starts) and registered an impressive 2 goals and 6 assists. He operated largely on the left wing, seeking to cut in onto his stronger right foot.

His development continued apace in the ensuing season. Gakpo, only 20 years at the time, would make 39 appearances across all competitions (22 starts), netting 8 goals and laying on 9 assists. His versatility was beginning to shine through as well, with the youngster proving adept on the right wing as well as the striking role.

In the 2020/21 campaign, a then 21 year old Gakpo would go on to make 29 appearances in all competitions for PSV, with 26 coming from the start. He registered double figures for goals for the very first time in his career (11 goals), backing it up with a further 3 assists.

He was making a name for himself, with several big clubs tracking his development. He made the Netherlands squad for the Euros that summer, but was only restricted to one appearance that tournament – making his international debut as a late substitute in the final group game against North Macedonia.

That tournament seemed to whet his appetite, as the young forward set about making sure he would be the centrepiece of the Dutch side for the next major tournament. He went into the 2021/22 season with laser-like focus.

He put the whole of Europe on notice with his displays for PSV not only in the Eredevisie, but in the Champions League (qualifiers), Europa League as well as the UEFA Conference League. He was mostly playing off the left wing and was cutting in to devastating effect.

His general play had improved, as he relished the responsibility placed on his young shoulders as the vice captain of the club. He grew in stature by the week and rounded off a seriously impressive campaign by scoring the winning goal in the KNVB Cup Final victory over Ajax.

PSV unfortunately couldn’t topple Ajax for the league title, losing out by two points. Gapko had made his mark however, registering 36 goal contributions in 47 appearances across all competitions (21 goals, 15 assists). He scooped the Dutch Footballer of the Year award.

He didn’t stop there. He set out this campaign intent on proving that last season was no fluke. He got off to a flyer as well, scoring and laying on two assists as PSV beat Ajax 5-3 to lift the Dutch Super Cup in late July. He netted his first hat-trick in August in a 7-1 trouncing of Volendam.

The following month, he scored a goal and laid on a hat trick of assists in a thrilling 4-3 win over Feyenoord. His hot streak showed no signs of slowing down. He arrived at the World Cup in ridiculous form, with many tipping him to have a breakthrough tournament. He rose to the expectations with some dazzling displays in Qatar.

He scored in each group game, becoming only the fourth Dutch player to score in three consecutive World Cup games – joining elite company in Johan Neeskens, Dennis Bergkamp and Wesley Sneijder. He was the shining light of a Dutch side that were knocked out in the quarter finals by eventual winners Argentina.

Now he gets to weave his magic on Merseyside. His 6ft 2″ frame means he’s got the physical attributes to thrive in the Premier League, with his dribbling ability, pace, creativity, wicked set piece delivery and eye for goal making him an exciting package.

That he can play in any position across the forward line is an added bonus to boost Jürgen Klopp’s attacking options. With Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz still out for a while yet, Cody Gakpo will immediately get an opportunity to show what he can offer.

The 23 year old has been in sizzling form over the past 18 months. Not even Erling Haaland can match him for goal involvements this season. Now time to see if he can do it in the toughest league of them all. The smart money will be on him managing just that.

Cody Gakpo ranks first or joint-first in the Eredivisie this season for the following stats:

◉ G+A
◉ Goals
◉ Assists
◉ Shots
◉ Shots on target
◉ Chances created
◉ Successful crosses
◉ Fouls won in the final ⅓
◉ Fast breaks

35 G+A in 31 apps for club and country 🤯


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