Netherlands and Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk may have subtly tried to steer his international team-mate Cody Gakpo away from bitter rivals Manchester United after a string of impressive World Cup performances. Real Madrid are also believed to be in the mix, with Van Dijk suggesting that Spain may be a better destination for Gakpo to take the next step in his career.
Gakpo has arguably been the Netherlands’ standout performer over their four matches in Qatar so far. He notched in each of their group games against Senegal, Ecuador and the hosts with his passing and pace also catching the eye.
His stellar showings will have come as no surprise to followers of the Dutch Eredivisie, with the PSV Eindhoven ace sitting on an astounding 21 goal contributions in 14 matches this campaign. The 23-year-old forward featured on Saturday but Denzel Dumfries took centre stage as the Netherlands beat the USA 3-1 to advance to the quarter-finals in Qatar.
United have been heavily linked with a January move for Gakpo as manager Erik ten Hag looks to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, who left the club after lashing out in a controversial interview with Talk TV host Piers Morgan last month.
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“Whether I am taking it in and doing something with it right now? I don’t think so because the full focus is on the World Cup but hopefully everything will be sorted and clarified when I am back. At this point, I am definitely not thinking about it.”
The Netherlands face the winner of Argentina’s clash with Australia on Saturday evening and their performance against the USA was indicative of a team improving all the time under boss Louis van Gaal. “We are unbeaten with him so definitely big credit to him,” said Van Dijk. “He has been very good for Dutch football. We are very happy he is our manager.”