How Virgil van Dijk helped convince Cody Gakpo to join Liverpool over Manchester United

    How Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk helped convince Cody Gakpo to snub Manchester United
    The Merseysiders have swooped in to land the PSV star (Picture: Getty Images)

    Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk spoke to Netherlands team-mate Cody Gakpo and helped convince him to choose a move to Anfield over Manchester United, according to reports.

    On Monday evening, shortly after Liverpool had seen off Aston Villa in the Premier League, reports emerged that the Merseyside club had agreed a £37millon deal, rising to £44m, to sign the PSV Eindhoven star.

    Gakpo had barely been linked with Liverpool before then and was rumoured to be United’s number one target to fill the attacking void left by Cristiano Ronaldo after his contract was terminated.

    But within hours of the rumours of Gakpo’s potential move to Liverpool surfacing, PSV confirmed that a fee had been agreed and the 23-year-old would travel to England to complete the move.

    The transfer was wrapped up incredibly quickly as Liverpool gazumped not just United but a host of other European giants, with Gakpo’s three goals at the World Cup cementing his credentials as a star of the future.

    Now it has been claimed that Liverpool’s swift pursuit was aided by Netherlands skipper Van Dijk, who made a late phone call to his countryman to convince him to join the Merseysiders.

    According to Eindhoven’s Dagblad newspaper, Van Dijk rang up Gakpo on Boxing Day straight after Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Villa and gave him the final push he needed to commit to the club.

    How Virgil van Dijk helped convince Cody Gakpo to join Liverpool
    No doubt Van Dijk will have spoken to Gakpo during the World Cup (Picture: Getty)

    That conversation appears to have been key to getting the deal over the line, with the winger deciding not to wait for a potential rival bid from United and giving PSV the greenlight to accept – and then announce – the deal.

    Van Dijk actually hinted at the possibility of Liverpool bringing in some new faces in his post-match interview, saying: ‘Hopefully the injured players can come back soon, and hopefully we can welcome some new players at our football club.

    ‘We will see. I think that quality is always welcome at Liverpool.’

    Liverpool have been dealing with a number of injury issues in attack this season, with Luis Diaz suffering a setback that will sideline him until March while Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota are also out of action.

    United, meanwhile, had a host of factors in their favour in the race to sign Gakpo, not least the fact he shares the same agent as manager Erik ten Hag.

    But the Red Devils were too slow off the mark to secure a deal and there are suggestions that the Glazers are currently only willing to sanction loan deals while they look to find a buyer for the club, with Joao Felix and Goncalo Ramos potential backup targets.

    MORE : Why Manchester United missed out on Cody Gakpo as Liverpool hijack transfer

    MORE : Erik ten Hag targets Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos as Manchester United lose out to Liverpool for Cody Gakpo

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