Tuesday, May 28News That Matters

Man Utd call ‘spotted’ on Van Gaal’s phone amid Cody Gakpo transfer push

Manchester United have been calling Louis van Gaal – sparking reports they want permission from their former manager to talk to Cody Gakpo.

Van Gaal left his phone in a hotel toilet in Doha as he plots Holland’s path through the World Cup. It was discovered by a Dutch journalist who pressed the power button in order to find out who had misplaced it – and was greeted by picture of Van Gaal and his wife Truus. There were also two missed calls – with a caller ID that said ‘Manchester United.’

The mobile was returned to the Holland head coach, who was not impressed that it had been found by De Telegraaf’s highly-respected football writer Valentijn Driessen.

There have been reports in Holland that United want to step up their interest in Gakpo after making an offer to land the PSV Eindhoven skipper in the summer when Erik ten Hag urged them to spend £82.5m on Ajax winger Antony.

It is unlikely that representatives from Old Trafford will be given permission to talk to the player while Holland are preparing to face Argentina in the quarter-finals.

Gakpo, who also came close to joining Leeds when United pulled out of negotiations, was valued at £40m by PSV. But the Dutch side will now be looking for a lot more after Gakpo announced himself at the World Cup by scoring against Ecuador, Senegal and Qatar in the group stages.

Earlier this week, the player himself conceded that while the Red Devils hadn’t made any formal contact, he would be interested if they did.

He told Dutch newspaper NRC : “I thought about Manchester United, but when that didn’t happen, I couldn’t remember. And I started to doubt. Leeds United did come. Should I go there? Now I wait everything. I haven’t heard from Manchester United yet. When they come, I’ll think about it. I also seek the help of God in these decisions.”

Ten Hag has admitted that his team need extra reinforcements in attacking areas after the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo last month. Speaking last month, he hinted that without more options going forward, achieving a Champions League return would be tough.

He said: “In the front line, the availability of the players that is a concern for us. We had to play some other games where we have to improvise to construct a proper offensive line. If you can’t do that, then it’s really difficult to get into the first four, if you don’t have the players to construct a proper offensive line.”

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