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Who is Cody Gakpo, Liverpool’s Newest Forward?
Liverpool’s star signing impressed at the World Cup, scoring three goals for the Dutch.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar served as a major auditioning platform and launch pad for burgeoning talent to showcase their elite skills on the sport’s biggest stage, and now that it has culminated with Lionel Messi securing his first World Cup title (and Argentina’s third), it’s time for some of the tournament's other top performers to start reaping the rewards of a job well done. One of those is Cody Gakpo.
After making history in Qatar where he became the first player for the Netherlands to score in his first three World Cup games, the 23-year-old phenom will be shipping out of PSV Eindhoven – a club in the Dutch top tier, Eredivisie – and heading to Premier League behemoth Liverpool. While the two clubs have not disclosed the exact fee, reports out of the UK peg the deal at around $45 million – a “record transfer” for the club, according to PSV general manager Marcel Brands.
PSV confirmed the forward is leaving the Dutch via Twitter on Monday. Gakpo has been with PSV since joining their youth program in 2007.
“PSV and [Liverpool] have reached an agreement on the proposed transfer of Cody Gakpo. The 23-year-old attacker will leave for England imminently where he will be subjected to the necessary formalities ahead of the completion of the transfer.”
Despite Liverpool having the Egyptian pitch wizard Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez up front, Jurgen Klopp’s squad is currently a bit debilitated when it comes to their attacking ability due to Dioga Jota, Roberto Firmino and Luis Diaz all spending lengthy spells on the bench with injuries. Fitting Gakpo in immediately will help the Reds shore up that vulnerability while Diaz, Jota and Firmino get healthy.
Even prior to the World Cup, the Dutch forward had his pick of the litter when it came to finding a suitable home in the Premier League for his talents. Leeds and Southampton pursued him during the summer transfer portal, as did Manchester United, according to ESPN. But Liverpool have swooped in to secure a deal.
After the World Cup, Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal explained what makes his star striker so highly coveted.
“Cody is still a young player,” noted Van Gaal. “He’s only been playing for PSV for two or three years, and always played on the left side. [Now he is showing] he can play in the middle. He has everything it takes to become a star.”
“I had more or less expected that he would evolve this way, but I believe that he’s going to evolve even further, much further, so I’m not surprised [by his performances] at all.”
Star Dutch defender and captain of the Netherlands World Cup squad Virgil van Dijk, whom Gakpo will be joining at Anfield, also sung the forward's praises.
“Hopefully, Cody can go to the moon and back,” Van Dijk said, according to the BBC. “He is a very good player and a good boy too.”
Besides making history as the first Dutch player to score in his first three World Cup games, Gakpo also joined the elite company of the Netherlands’ legend Johan Cruyff who also scored three goals in one World Cup tournament. Additionally, he became just the second Dutchman to score with his left foot, his right foot and his head in a World Cup.
With Liverpool sitting just four points off a top-four spot in the Premier League, Gakpo brings a level of versatility to the Reds’ front line which will allow him to oscillate between his traditional position as a winger while also serving as threat down the middle as needed in Klopp’s scheme. That, combined that with his explosive speed and agility will give Klopp a ferocious attacking force that could be the difference in the Reds making a Premier League title run.
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