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Cody Gakpo to Manchester United?

A brief profile of the dynamic PSV Eindhoven attacker linked with Ten Hag's United

Cody Gakpo, linked to Erik ten Hag's Manchester United, playing for PSV Eindhoven
Scouted Football

AUGUST 10, 2022

Who is Cody Gakpo?

Cody Gakpo has garnered light interest from England for a few years now, but things have started to heat up recently, perhaps due to some hot early season from the Dutchman. He has an ever in-demand skillset: the high-volume scoring wide player – though a role that we have often seen struggle acclimating to a higher level of competition.

But it’s hard to argue with the numbers. 11 goals in 2,145 minutes in 2020/21 and then 21 goals in 3,403 minutes in 2021/22 is very strong output in any league and means a player is likely to be rewarded with a move to a stronger club, let alone a player that is a PSV regular and a seven-time capped Dutch international.

What is Cody Gakpo's style of play?

So, what can an eventual buyer expect to receive when they land Gakpo? Firstly, he is a player that can play across the front three, but he has found a home for himself on the left, coming inside onto his preferred right foot: standard stuff for a modern-day wide player. Probably the most striking aspect of his game is his size at his position. At around 6’2”/6’3”, he is a big-bodied wide player – an attribute that lends itself to being a damaging final third player rather than a more mobile wide threat as a ball carrier and dribbler.

As a dribbler, he is quite good but in a narrow scope. He lacks the burst of acceleration from a standing start to be the type that looks to stand up a marker one-on-one to get past them, but he is good at using his technical quality to dribble out of pressure when defenders try to close him down.

In his natural home in the final third, he can do lots of damage both as a creator and scorer. One aspect of his game that stands out a lot is his ability to cut inside and hit curled, floated crosses. They are the perfect type of cross for a striker to flick on, using the curl and power on the cross to do most of the work for them. His array of assists are basically all these crosses from the corner of the box, cutbacks, or corners.

His array of finishes is much more varied. His bread and butter is arriving as the last runner coming in from the left in transition – the kind of goal you would expect from a Kylian Mbappe or Vinícius Jr. But he is also decent enough in the air, and also finds his way into some decent poacher positions when the ball is out on the right with someone that can hit the by-line as effectively as Noni Madueke.

His ball-striking is excellent as well. He can strike the ball nicely with his laces or he can show a bit more finesse with curled efforts. The latter particularly comes in handy in tandem with his dribbling, allowing him to create enough space to get a shot away that he is able to curl towards the far corner.

Cody Gakpo is a high-volume goal-scoring and goal-creating wide player with a good array of finishes and solid technical foundations.

Gakpo lacks a little bit of explosiveness physically, relying on smart positioning and his technical fundamentals to aid him in transition. However, it can be slightly inhibiting for him as a dribbler, as despite having the ability to beat players, he lacks the quick burst to properly get past them and into the space behind.

Which clubs have been linked with Cody Gakpo?

While Gakpo’s name has been linked with many Premier League clubs in the past, rumours tying him to Manchester United have intensified in recent days.

The links first emerged through ESPN’s Rob Dawson. Jason Burt of The Daily Telegraph substantiated those links by decribing Gakpo as a “viable” target for Ten Hag’s United. There is yet to be any real indication on the veracity of these links from Dutch sources.

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