Cody Gakpo's stock increased at the World Cup with three goals in five appearances for the Netherlands; Man Utd had shown interest in Gakpo in the summer before pursuing a deal for Antony from Ajax; Southampton had an offer rejected for the 23-year-old in the summer
Wednesday 28 December 2022 12:27, UK
Liverpool have reached an agreement to sign Cody Gakpo for a fee between £35m and £45m from PSV, the Dutch club have announced.
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."
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."
Southampton had an offer rejected for Gakpo in the summer, while Leeds were also keen on the 23-year-old.
Gakpo's stock increased at the World Cup with three goals in five appearances before the Netherlands were knocked out at the quarter-final stage on penalties to Argentina.
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, live on Monday Night Football on Sky Sports at Brentford.
Premier League rules require completed documents by midday of the last working day before a match. This season, January 1 and January 2 are considered working days.
Sky Sports' Peter Smith:
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. His standout performances for Van Gaal came as a centre forward or No 10 that drifted to the right. At PSV he has shone as a left winger, cutting inside.
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.
Pace and drive running in off the flank; power and precision in his shooting; creativity as the Eredivisie's top chance creator; skill and speed with his dribbling; aerial threat, as he showed against Senegal… 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.
Sky Sports' Joe Shread:
As illustrated above, Gakpo's versatility, professionalism and output on the field explain pretty clearly why Liverpool have decided to make their move for the PSV and Netherlands forward.
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.
"You don't expect miracles immediately from these kind of players," Klopp told Sky Sports in March, two months after Diaz's signing. "But he is not far away from doing exactly that."
Miracles may be too much to ask, but Gakpo's performances for both PSV and the Netherlands suggest he could provide a crucial boost for Liverpool in the second half of the season.
Dutch football expert Elko Born speaking to Sky Sports News:
"Liverpool will be expecting him to perform but we must remember in 2014 when Memphis Depay did quite well at the World Cup but when he made his move to Manchester United it never worked out for him. So, there is concern for Gakpo too, who did well at the World Cup and with PSV but making the move to the Premier League is a big step up for a Dutch player.
"Will he succeed? We'll have to wait and see. But there is a gamble when signing a player from the Netherlands. Saying that, people are quite optimistic about Gakpo."