PSV star Cody Gakpo has revealed that former manager Louis van Gaal convinced him not to move to Old Trafford in the summer.
Gakpo emerged as a transfer target for United early in the 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 £40million by PSV, instead securing ’s for £82m on deadline day.
But United weren’t the only Premier League side interested in the 23-year-old, with Leeds and Southampton trying and failing to secure his services as the summer came to an end.
Gakpo has now opened up about the failed move, maintaining that he is more than happy to remain in the Eredivisie, but also revealing Van Gaal’s surprise role in the transfer saga.
‘I spoke to other clubs, Premier League clubs which could be a good step, but there are more factors to consider, like the World Cup,’ the Dutch international said.
‘I spoke to the national team coach [Van Gaal] and asked for his advice. His advice was clear, that I should follow my feelings, but that a transfer in a World Cup year is such a transition, going from club to club. It’s not ideal for a player, and I agreed with him.
‘From my side, it was also a bit last minute because I was looking at United and then I have to choose a different club. It all felt like a bit of a rush. Plus, it wasn’t nice for PSV because it was so last minute.’
Gakpo’s story echoes Jurrien Timber’s, who was also linked to United throughout the summer having worked under Ten Hag at Ajax.
But the young defender has since signed a new deal with the Amsterdam side, having been warned off a transfer by Van Gaal on account that he could miss out on a place in the Dutch squad for the World Cup in Qatar in November.
As for Gakpo, he also disclosed just how strong United’s interest in him was and admitted that at one stage he was convinced he would be moving to 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 difficult [to deal with] because it was my first time to decide between staying or going. You hope for immediate clarity at the start of the window so you can focus on PSV or your new club but that didn’t come.
‘At the start of the window, United registered their interest but not very strongly, so I was waiting for a bit, and then the end was approaching, and the signals became more positive. I started thinking it could fall that way eventually.
‘The interest faded last week, so the whole window I worked towards that and then it faded. So, then I was watching last week thinking, “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 look at all your options, but in the end, I know I made the right choice.’
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