Manchester United will replace Cristiano Ronaldo in January and are planning a €50m (£43.1m) opening offer for Erik ten Hag’s main target, according to reports.
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The Red Devils have been left light on options in attack after the termination of Ronaldo’s contract last month, with Anthony Martial and Rashford the only senior, first-team options capable of leading the line for the club.
Ten Hag is conscious of the need for more options in attack, saying last week: ‘Yes, we want to sign a forward in January but only when we find the right player. We will do everything in our power.’
Now, according to The Telegraph, United are ready to make a bid for PSV Eindhoven’s versatile attacker Cody Gakpo and believe he is the ideal replacement for Ronaldo.
United have long-standing interest in the Netherlands forward and discussed a move in the summer, though ultimately decided to pay up for Antony instead – who cost a huge £87.1million.
But that was no reflection on how highly Ten Hag rates Gakpo, and the Dutch manager is now driving the club’s pursuit of his young compatriot.
Although he has spent most of his career so far lining up off the left wing, Gakpo is also capable of playing through the middle and spearheading the attack – something he did well for Netherlands at the World Cup.
United will open negotiations with PSV by making a €50million (£43.1m) offer for the 23-year-old, though it remains to be seen if that will be accepted.
The Dutch club are aware of how much Gakpo’s stock has risen since the summer, having scored nine goals and provided 12 assists in just 14 Eredivisie games as well as netting three times at the World Cup.
Back in the summer, United had valued the player at closer to the €40m (£34.8m) mark, but that will not be enough to prise him away from PSV in the January transfer window.
Sporting director Marcel Brands has made it clear that Gakpo’s sale will only be for a club-record fee, meaning it will take a bid of at least €45m (£39.2m) to bring PSV to the negotiating table – which is what Napoli paid to sign Hirving Lozano in 2019.
Speaking during the World Cup, he spoke about United’s rumoured interest: ‘If Manchester United come I will think about it.’