PSV star Cody Gakpo has revealed that former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal convinced him not to move to Old Trafford in the summer.
Gakpo appeared early in the United transfer target window as Erik ten Hag looked to bolster his forward options.
Ultimately, the Red Devils opted not to move for the winger, who was valued at around £40m by PSV, and instead secured Antony from Ajax for £82m on deadline day.
But United weren’t the only Premier League side interested in the 23-year-old. Leeds and Southampton tried and failed to secure his services as the summer drew to a close.
Gakpo has now spoken openly about the failed move, saying he is more than happy to stay in the Eredivisie but also revealing Van Gaal’s surprising role in the transfer saga.
“I’ve spoken to other clubs, Premier League clubs that could be a good move but there are more factors to consider like the World Cup,” said the Netherlands international.
“I spoke to the national coach [Van Gaal] and asked for his advice. His advice was clear that I should follow my gut but that a transfer in a World Cup year is such a transition, from club to club. It’s not ideal for a gamer and I agree with him.
“It was a bit last minute from my side too because I’ve looked at United and then have to choose another club. It all felt like a bit of a rush. Also, it wasn’t nice for PSV because it was so last minute.
Gakpo’s story echoes that of Jurrien Timber, who has also been linked with United throughout the summer after working under Ten Hag at Ajax.
But the young defender has since signed a new contract with Amsterdam after being warned against a transfer from Van Gaal because he could miss out on a place in the Netherlands’ squad for November’s World Cup in Qatar.
As for Gakpo, he also revealed how strong United’s interest in him was, admitting that at one point he was convinced he would join the club despite PSV’s determination to keep him.
“It was hectic. Days, weeks, months…I’m glad it’s over,” he added.
‘It was hard [to deal with] because for the first time I had to choose between staying and going. You’re hoping for immediate clarity early in the window so you can focus on PSV or your new club, but that hasn’t come.
“At the beginning of the window United have expressed an interest but not very strongly so I waited a bit and then the end was nearing and the signals became more positive. I started to think that it might fall like this at some point.
“Interest waned last week, so I worked the whole window towards that, and then it faded. So, then last week I was watching and I was like, “What is the right thing to do?”.
“I feel at home here, in my own city. Everyone knows how I feel but you have to consider all options but in the end I know I made the right choice.”
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