will replace in the January transfer market and are planning a €50million (£43.1m) opening offer for Erik ten Hag’s top target, according to reports.
The Red Devils have been left light on options in attack following the termination of Ronaldo’s contract last month, with Anthony Martial and the only senior, first-team options capable of leading the line.
Ten Hag is conscious of the need for more firepower, saying last week: ‘Yes, we want to sign a forward in January but only when we find the right player. We will do everything in our power.’
Now, according to , United are ready to make a formal offer for PSV Eindhoven’s versatile attacker and feel he is the ideal replacement for Ronaldo.
United have long-standing interest in the Netherlands international and discussed a move in the summer, though ultimately decided to pay up for Brazilian winger Antony instead – who cost a massive £87.1million.
But that was no reflection on how highly Ten Hag rates Gakpo, and the Dutch coach is now driving United’s pursuit of his young compatriot.
Although he has spent most of his career so far lining up off the left wing, Gakpo is also capable of playing through the middle and spearheading the attack – something he did well for the Netherlands at the World Cup in Qatar.
United will open negotiations with PSV by submitting a €50million (£43.1m) bid for the 23-year-old, though it remains to be seen if that will be accepted.
The Dutch club are fully aware of how much Gakpo’s stock has risen since the summer, having scored nine goals and laid on 12 assists in just 14 Eredivisie appearances as well as netting three times at the World Cup.
Back in the summer, United had valued the forward at closer to the €40m (£34.8m) mark, but that will not be enough to prise him away from PSV in January.
Sporting director Marcel Brands has already made it clear that Gakpo’s sale will only be for a club-record fee, meaning it will take a bid of at least €45m (£39.2m) to bring PSV to the negotiating table – which is what Napoli paid for Hirving Lozano in 2019.
There had been suggestions that Gakpo might be persuaded to remain in Eindhoven until the end of the season, with the club well positioned to challenge for the title, but he now wants to join United and is keen to work under Ten Hag.
Speaking during the World Cup, he said of the Red Devils’ rumoured interest: ‘If Manchester United come I will think about it.’
Gakpo is not the only player United are considering a move for, with Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos – who made a name for himself by scoring the only hat-trick of the 2022 World Cup after replacing Ronaldo in Portugal’s starting XI – also on their radar.
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