Cody Gakpo is becoming one of the breakout stars of this World Cup. His recent performances have got half of Europe to chase him, and the time is right for him to make a step up.
Last summer, Gakpo was close to leaving PSV. At the start of the transfer window, talks with Manchester United were held, but the Red Devils decided against bringing the Dutchman in. On deadline day, it looked like Gakpo would take the plane, that was seriously already waiting for him, to Leeds, but he changed his mind in the last second.
That turned out to be an amazing decision. Gakpo scored 9 goals and assisted 12 times in 14 matches in the Dutch top flight. The 23-year-old attacker was also crucial to PSV finishing second in their Europa League group, with 3 goals and 2 assists.
Before the start of the current season, one doubt with Gakpo was his ability to perform in big games. For example, in the Champions League qualifiers against Monaco and Rangers, Gakpo was quite poor. With goal contributions against Feyenoord, Ajax and Arsenal, he has finally shown his capability to do it against strong sides.
Carrying his great club form over to the World Cup turned out to be no problem for Gakpo. He scored a header against Senegal, a curler with his left when he faced Ecuador and a low shot versus Qatar. Doing it on the biggest stage isn’t a problem for the boy from Eindhoven. It should also be noted that he played as a 10 and striker for the Netherlands, while he usually starts on the left-wing for his club. Gakpo possess a good amount of versatility.
Over the past few weeks, Gakpo has attracted more and more interest from all around Europe. Manchester United seem ready to reopen negotiations with PSV when the World Cup is finished. Wherever Gakpo goes, he has proven that he is ready to take on any challenge.
Jurre van Wanrooij | GWFN