Manchester United have been dealt a major transfer blow as it has been reported that PSV forward Cody Gakpo will not be allowed to leave his current club until at least August 25th due to Champions League commitments.
The Red Devils are desperately searching for forward reinforcements and have earmarked Gakpo as an increasingly credible option, having been put off a move for Bologna’s Marko Arnautovic by both the fan backlash to the move and the pricetag set by the Serie A side.
Christian Eriksen started their opening clash with Brighton as a striker, thanks to a lack of fitness on the part of Cristiano Ronaldo and injury to Anthony Martial. While the club were chasing Antony for much of the summer, the hefty demands by Ajax were deemed too high even for Manchester United.
They have already missed out on Benjamin Sesko this summer, with the teenager opting to remain in Austria before joining RB Leipzig next summer.
Now, they have been dealt another hefty blow as it has emerged that Gakpo will not be allowed to leave PSV while they continue to compete for the chance to play in the Champions League, having knocked out Monaco on Tuesday night to set up a knockout tie with Scottish side Rangers.
As per the Daily Record, ‘Gakpo has been told his sale will not be sanctioned under any circumstances before the qualification double-header with Rangers has been settled’.
The second leg of that tie takes place on August 24th, meaning that should the Red Devils still pursue a deal, the Dutchman will not join until at least their trip to the south coast to take on Southampton three days later, though that would be something of a quick turnaround.
Will Gakpo leave?
It is reported that Gakpo is available for around 40m euros (£35m) this summer, though PSV technical director John de Jong claimed that any deal would be done well before the transfer deadline.
‘It will not last until September 1 with Cody’, he told NOS in May. ‘I don’t think he wants that either. At the beginning of August, then things should be clear’
Speaking ahead of his side knocking out Monaco in the last qualifying round, the 23-year-old admitted he himself was unsure that he would leave if his side made the Champions League group stages.
“We must first focus on the second leg against Monaco and try to make it to the Champions League”, he explained. “Then it is more likely I will stay. I don’t think I have said anywhere I am leaving, so there is a chance I will stay.”
Manchester United will be hoping that the chance to join the Red Devils is too good to pass up even if they do make it past Rangers in a fortnight’s time.