Cody Gakpo is lighting the Eredivisie on fire. The 23-year-old PSV winger has 13 goals and 11 assists and is easily one of Europe’s most productive forwards. Manchester United already called for him, and it’s understood the biggest clubs in Europe could be making moves soon.
United was actually quite close to signing him in the summer, for a handsome fee, of course. But the deal fell through when the Red Devils chose to sign Antony instead.
He is expected to represent the Netherlands in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar and some are tipping him as a possible breakthrough star.
And during an interview with The Times, Gakpo revealed he grew up idolizing Barcelona players.
“I loved watching [Ibrahim] Afellay and [Jefferson] Farfán. I had a huge poster of the whole squad above my bed and then on the other wall I had players from PSV and Barcelona. I used to get the magazine and take the pictures out and stick them on my wall. I had a lot of Afellay and Farfán, then when I was a bit older I had Barcelona players like Ronaldinho and [Samuel] Eto’o. I was only ever a fan of PSV but I liked watching teams that played good football,” he said.
Afellay in particular is a special case, as he started out at PSV before joining Barcelona. He quite memorably assisted one of Lionel Messi’s two goals against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semifinals. His later years, however, were marred by injury before he found a home elsewhere.
Could Gakpo emulate Afellay’s career, insofar as being a PSV star and then joining Barcelona?
At the moment, it seems difficult. The Catalans have spent a lot of money on two wingers - Ferran Torres and Raphinha. It would seem improbable that they would spend more to sign another, particularly as Gakpo would be quite expensive.