Fabrizio Romano has revealed that despite Manchester United’s interest in Cody Gakpo, his transfer to Premier League rivals Liverpool can be no real surprise.
Gakpo was one of the bright young talents of the World Cup, and United’s interest in the Netherlands forward was rumored long before he headed to Qatar in November.
But in his Daily Briefing column at Caughtoffside.comRomano voiced his opinion on just why the deal didn’t come off for Erik ten Hag.
Despite tracking the former PSV Eindhoven player since his days at Eredivisie rivals Ajax, United and Ten Hag never actually submitted an offer for the Holland star.
And following his €42 million move to Liverpool, United have been left with no choice but to find a stop-gap striker in the January transfer window.
While rumors abound about who that might be, Gakpo is already settled in and ready to start firing at Anfield.
Although Ten Hag and United coveted the 23-year-old for some time, Romano quashed the idea that Liverpool stole him from under the noses of the Old Trafford side.
“Manchester United started a dialogue on the player’s side to get a full buy-in. Beyond that, however, they didn’t do much – Ten Hag would’ve liked Gakpo, but United didn’t move”, says Romano.
“This either means they were too slow, or, more likely, the ownership weren’t ready to move because they don’t want to spend too big in January, because there is the feeling that a new owner could be ready to invest soon , in early 2023”, he added, pointing out that the Glazer family are still hoping a full sale of the club is imminent.
With the quick movement from Liverpool to secure a deal, Romano likes the business to that of Darwin Nuñez in the summer, another striker United were heavily linked with, highlighting the disjoint between the coach and his board.
But the word out of Old Trafford is that their Dutch coach wants a more traditional number 9, and United have since been linked to a host of strikers including French duo Randal Kolo Mauni and Marcus Thuram.
Despite this, United have most heavily been linked with wantaway Atletico Madrid star, Joao Félix, who is available on loan until the end of the season.
“In the context of Joao Felix, we wait and see – United want someone who can weigh in with goals and assists, so it’s just about if they want someone like that and a traditional number 9, or just a traditional number 9”, Romano he said.
“Still, for all the talk and excitement of the transfer window, and the good form in what feels like a new era under Ten Hag, there remains an issue with big players. United are a bit hamstrung by the likely change of ownership and by not being in the Champions League this season. I wouldn’t be too surprised if these issues mean that a loan deal is more likely than any permanent deal” Romano concludes.
All of this leaves fans of the Old Trafford side wondering, will Ten Hag rely upon his current squad depth to endure Champions League qualification this year or will he push to force the club’s hand into ensuring they bring in the man he wants.
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