Liverpool moved so quickly to secure a deal for Cody Gakpo that Manchester United had not even begun to formulate an official offer, though there are suggestions that some at the club were not totally convinced by the PSV star.
The 23-year-old is travelling to Merseyside to complete his move to Anfield after the Reds struck an agreement with PSV worth an initial £37million.
Gakpo had been heavily linked with a move to United, with manager Erik ten Hag a big fan of his countryman and in desperate need of attacking reinforcements after Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract was terminated last month.
However, BBC Sport report that United’s scouting department were ‘never convinced’ about the winger’s level of development and were wary of paying PSV’s asking price.
Although Gakpo has netted nine times and laid on 12 assists in just 14 Eredivisie appearances this season – as well as netting three times at the World Cup – there were still some lingering question marks over his ability to make the step up to the Premier League.
According to the Daily Mail, United never even got as far as finalising a first bid for Gakpo and felt the £44m valuation – with Liverpool paying a further £7m in add-ons – was inflated.
When United were interested in the summer, they valued Gakpo at closer to the £30m mark – which is roughly the figure Southampton and Leeds agreed with PSV just a few months ago.
Another issue that affected United’s pursuit is the club’s current situation away from the pitch, with the Glazers reluctant to invest heavily in transfers while they are actively looking to sell up.
As such, United will likely only be able to make loan signings in the January window – something which was never an option with Gakpo and allowed Liverpool to swoop in.
Having missed out on the Dutchman, the Red Devils could now focus their attention on Joao Felix or Goncalo Ramos, with both players potentially available on loan.
Felix has fallen completely out of favour under Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid and the Spanish side are willing to let him leave next month, though any loan will include a big fee and they will push for a mandatory buy clause.
As things stand, Ten Hag has just two senior strikers at his disposal in Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford – though the latter’s best displays have come off the left wing – while he is also waiting for Jadon Sancho to return to training.
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