As Liverpool are on the verge of concluding a deal to sign Cody Gakpo from PSV, Pep Linders’ November statement has resurfaced on social media.
News of the Reds’ interest in Gakpo appeared after the victory over Aston Villa on Boxing Day, when the Eredivisie side confirmed the agreement late in the evening.
Manchester United have long been considered the most likely destination for Dutch strikers, but just as they did to secure the signature of Luis Diaz this time last year, Liverpool swooped in to get ahead of other contenders.
Some foresaw this move: Hans Kraay Jr., a former Dutch football player and TV presenter, claimed to have spoken to Liverpool assistant boss Linders about Gakpo in November.
A tweet from @FootballOranje_ last month revealed details of the alleged conversation, with Linders believed to have called Gakpo the “missing link,” resulting in Kraay Jr. being convinced Liverpool would make their move.
Linders probably knows the compatriot Gakpo well and spoke about Diaz in the same way after he arrived from Porto in the middle of last season.
The club clearly hopes the 23-year-old can make the same impact as Diaz and Diogo Hota are still recovering from long-term injuries.
There has been speculation that the Gakpo deal is the start of a new era for Liverpool’s hiring, with Jurgen Klopp and Linders taking more responsibility for transfers as Julian Ward prepares to leave his position as sporting director next summer.
And although these claims are largely unfounded, it is not surprising if it was the Liverpool coaching staff who led the club’s pursuit of the Gakpo.
With 30 goals in 24 games at club level this season, the ability to work in multiple forward positions and a relatively low price, Gakpo ticks a lot of boxes for the Reds.
Where he will fit in remains to be seen, but it is certainly not the biggest problem for Klopp and Linders.