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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Man Utd stung by Van Dijk as Dutchman weighs in on Gakpo interest

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Man Utd’s next six Premier League fixtures Invalid emailWe use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More infoNetherlands and Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk may have subtly tried to steer his international team-mate Cody Gakpo away from bitter rivals Manchester United after a string of impressive World Cup performances. Real Madrid are also believed to be in the mix, with Van Dijk suggesting that Spain may be a better destination for Gakpo to take the next step in his career. Gakpo has arguably been the Netherlands’ standout performer over their four matches in Qatar so far. He notched in each of their group games against Senegal, Ecuador and the hosts with his passing and pace also catching the eye. His stellar showings will have come as no surprise to followers of the Dutch Eredivisie, with the PSV Eindhoven ace sitting on an astounding 21 goal contributions in 14 matches this campaign. The 23-year-old forward featured on Saturday but Denzel Dumfries took centre stage as the Netherlands beat the USA 3-1 to advance to the quarter-finals in Qatar. United have been heavily linked with a January move for Gakpo as manager Erik ten Hag looks to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, who left the club after lashing out in a controversial interview with Talk TV host Piers Morgan last month. JUST IN: Man Utd told Cody Gakpo can be their own Kevin De Bruyne Virgil van Dijk may have ushered Cody Gakpo towards Real Madrid (Image: GETTY)However, Netherlands captain Van Dijk is understandably keen to see his countryman change course from Old Trafford, hinting that the Bernabeu could be a better fit for his talent. “Are Manchester United and Real Madrid on the same level?” he queried to reporters after the USA game.”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. 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.”DON’T MISS… Lukaku horror show may hit Chelsea in pocket as ‘new talks’ planned Granit Xhaka sparks squabble as rude penis gesture caught on camera Antonio Rudiger ‘raged at teenage FIFA worker’ after Germany defeatLiverpool aren’t thought to be in contention to sign Gakpo and some Reds fans fear that their ownership situation could impact their prospects of bolstering the squad at all in January. Fenway Sports Group are reportedly looking to sell the club but Van Dijk has spoken out to assure supporters that they have no need to be concerned. “I have full trust in Liverpool that they will be fine,” he added. “We are a very established club, one of the biggest in the world and that will stay that way. Whoever comes in to fill in those roles, they will do very well. I am aware of everything that is happening. Cody Gakpo has been a star performer for the Netherlands at the 2022 World Cup (Image: Getty)”Whether I am taking it in and doing something with it right now? I don’t think so because the full focus is on the World Cup but hopefully everything will be sorted and clarified when I am back. At this point, I am definitely not thinking about it.”The Netherlands face the winner of Argentina’s clash with Australia on Saturday evening and their performance against the USA was indicative of a team improving all the time under boss Louis van Gaal. “We are unbeaten with him so definitely big credit to him,” said Van Dijk. “He has been very good for Dutch football. We are very happy he is our manager.”

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