Cody Gakpo has emerged as one of the breakout stars at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, scoring three goals in four matches to help the Netherlands reach the quarter-finals of the competition.
The 23-year-old had been in red-hot form for PSV Eindhoven prior to the World Cup and his continued impressive run has attracted the attention of several top clubs across Europe, including Real Madrid.
Indeed, Los Blancos are reported to have shown interest in Gakpo but are set to face fierce competition from Manchester United. The Red Devils have had their eyes on the Dutch ace since the summer and are believed to be in contact with his agents.
However, Gakpo’s Netherlands teammate and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has urged the young forward to snub Manchester United in case Real Madrid come calling for him, as he is ready for the ‘next level’.
“Are Manchester United and Real Madrid on the same level? No disrespect, not at all. I definitely think he has that next step in him. I definitely feel like it could happen, whether that is in the winter or the summer or next year, time will tell,” van Dijk said (h/t Evening Standard).
“He is a great boy who works hard, very talented and definitely there is more in him. We are so pleased he is doing so well for us. Long may it continue,” the Liverpool defender further added.
Prior to the World Cup, Gakpo had plundered 13 goals and 17 assists from 24 matches across all competitions for PSV. Given the form he has displayed, it seems only a matter of time before a move to a big club materialises.
Only time will tell whether he joins Manchester United or if Real Madrid make a move to sign Gakpo.
Real Madrid maintain full confidence in Turkish starlet despite injury woes
Arda Guler’s Real Madrid stint has not gotten off to the start he would have hoped to have given the expectation that preceded the transfer.
Having joined in the summer after Real Madrid outbid their competition to win him over from Fenerbahce for a 20-million-euro fee, buzz was high as the winger was expected to slot into the team quite seamlessly, albeit on a rotational basis.
Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he has been constantly marred by injuries since completing the move.
Reports have stated that after Guler picked up his third injury since his move, Real Madrid have been concerned and want to take things slow with the player to ensure he is fit as soon as possible after an injury to his quadriceps this time.
The Turk is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, and Real Madrid even sacked their medical chief in November, in light of their injury crises since the beginning of the season.
No loan deal for Guler
However, according to Fabrizio Romano in a recent YouTube video, he states that Madrid maintain full trust and patience in the youngster.
Despite his bad luck with injuries, the latest of which he is scheduled to return from after Christmas, the Galacticos have no intention of loaning out Guler to Turkish clubs despite lots of speculation of them doing so of late.
Romano states that Madrid remain firm on not shaking things up too much with the squad, and they want to keep their roster stable, including Arda Guler.
They want to extend their full support and protection to the player as he aims to return to full fitness and finally make his bow for Madrid either by the end of this month or in 2024.