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Erik ten Hag wants Man Utd to sign Cody Gakpo in January, Rafael Leao is the alternative

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is keen on signing PSV Eindhoven forward Cody Gakpo during the winter transfer window, according to ESPN Netherlands.

The Red Devils recently confirmed the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo by mutual consent. In the process, they have saved wages in the region of £16 million (€18.6 million).

Ten Hag now wants the club to reinvest on a wide player in January and it is reported that Gakpo is the top priority for the Dutchman ahead of the New Year.

The Red Devils were heavily linked with Gakpo in the last transfer window, but they ended up spending their remaining budget on signing Antony from Ajax.

United are now being fancied to make a fresh move for Gakpo, who is valued at €50m, but it is also claimed that PSV may prefer to keep him for the season.

In that case, ESPN claim that the club could turn their attention to signing Rafael Leao from AC Milan.

Man Utd must fill the void left by Ronaldo’s exit

United currently have Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial as the centre-forward options, but they should be wary of the latter’s injury record over the past 18 months.

This season alone, Martial has been sidelined with three separate injuries and United can’t rely on his fitness for the remainder of the current campaign.

Hence, they must fill the void left by Ronaldo’s exit. It appears Ten Hag prefers to sign a more versatile forward rather than a specialist striker in January.

Both Gakpo and Leao would suit the Dutchman’s style of play. The duo have been hugely impressive for their respective clubs with regular goal contributions.

They have also made a mark for their countries at the ongoing World Cup. If we were to choose between the two, Gakpo should obviously be the main target.

The Netherlands star has a stunning 13 goals and 17 assists from 24 games at club level this term. In comparison, Leao has chipped in with seven goals and nine assists from 20 outings.

Both players are capable of playing out wide or up front. However, Gakpo offers more versatility as he can also feature in the number 10 role as seen against Senegal.

Ten Hag has not gone wrong with his transfer recommendations since his appointment and United should back him by spending big on Gakpo at the turn of the year.

PSV will probably demand more on the back of his World Cup showing, but United should easily afford the highly-rated forward if the owners are willing to spend.

Stats from