Man Utd boss Ten Hag tells Gakpo he is ‘perfect’ Ronaldo replacement

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is apparently turning on the charm in an effort to snap up Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven. Competition is set to be fierce for the Dutchman after a scintillating start to the campaign, and he could arrive at Old Trafford in January as Cristiano Ronaldo’s replacement. 

The Red Devils hierarchy may have hoped for a relatively frugal January window after Ten Hag led a transfer blowout during the summer. However, Ronaldo’s exit has left a glaring hole in the squad that must be filled to give United the best chance of finishing in the top four. 

Ten Hag prioritised signing Antony over Gakpo in the summer but he could come back for a second bite at the cherry after the New Year. The PSV forward has turned into a goal and assist machine in 2022/23 and a host of top clubs are preparing to pounce. 

According to The Mirror, the United boss has been in contact with Gakpo to inform him that he would be ‘the perfect replacement’ for Ronaldo, whose recent exit from the club was shrouded in controversy. 

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Gakpo is supposedly keen to ensure that he lands a prominent role at his next club after building up significant momentum with PSV and the Netherlands. He bagged in each of the three group games at the Qatar World Cup and impressed with other aspects of his performances. 

The message from Ten Hag may well resonate with Gakpo given that the pair know each other well already. Indeed, the current United manager had a coaching role at the PSV academy when Gakpo was rising through the ranks several years ago. 

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The Red Devils may need every advantage they can get when it comes to landing the 23-year-old, who has also perked the interest of Newcastle United, Arsenal and Real Madrid. All three clubs have things to offer with the Magpies currently third in the Premier League, the Gunners top of the table and Los Blancos one of the most recognised clubs on the planet. 

Reports indicate that PSV have hiked up their asking price for Gakpo after his stellar recent performances but United are planning to test the waters with a £43.1million bid in January. If their swoop falls short, Ten Hag has a growing shortlist to fall back on with Joao Felix, Goncalo Ramos and Rafael Leao also appreciated by those at Old Trafford. 

Felix is expected to leave Atletico Madrid after the club’s CEO admitted that the player sees his future elsewhere. He could cost north of £86m, but United have been linked with an audacious loan proposal to put off the eye-watering cost until the end of the campaign. 

Ramos made headlines in Qatar by replacing Ronaldo for the round of 16 clash with Switzerland, repaying the manager’s faith by notching a spectacular hat-trick in a 6-1 win. Leao, meanwhile, was impressive while mainly coming off the bench at the World Cup, but AC Milan value him highly and they are sure to drive a hard bargain. 

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