Man Utd news: Cody Gakpo may have led Erik ten Hag to an even better signing | Soccer | sport

Manchester United’s pursuit of Cody Gakpo may have inadvertently led manager Erik ten Hag to one of the brightest young talents in the Eredivisie. Xavi Simons has taken the division by storm since a surprise move from Paris Saint-Germain to PSV Eindhoven in the summer and his contract details could make January a hugely important month.

United are said to have considered Gakpo as an alternative to Antony this summer, but Ten Hag were adamant about paying for the Brazilian. This left Gakpo with a late decision to make and, despite interest from Southampton and Leeds, opted to stay with PSV.

Things seem to be looking pretty good for the 23-year-old, who has scored six of PSV’s 22 league goals after just four games. The same can be said for Gakpo’s teammate Simons who burst onto the scene with six goals and two assists in the same four outings.

The 19-year-old had yet to score a senior goal until July 30 but is taking on the challenge of senior football in his stride. Simons was hailed as a true prodigy during his rise through the ranks of Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, which he left for PSG in 2019.

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Despite the excitement over his progress, Simons has been restricted to just 11 first-team appearances in the French capital, with Jude Bellingham and Gavi playing regularly elsewhere. He joined PSV in the summer on a surprise permanent deal after putting regular action high on his priority list.

PSG would have kept the option to buy him back at the end of the season for a meager £3.5m, but the door could be left open to anyone who puts in a tempting offer in January. United may not get another chance to charge if he returns to France, news of his meteoric departure is sure to raise eyebrows among Europe’s top clubs.

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Simons, whose father named him after Barcelona legend Xavi, had significant publicity as a youngster when he captained Barcelona’s prestigious youth teams. He’s capped up to Netherlands U19 level but could take on even more international responsibilities if his goalscoring touch continues in the Eredivisie.

It remains to be seen how the teenager feels about the prospect of returning to PSG, but Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi would make his first-team path extremely tricky. United could also call on PSV boss Ruud van Nistelrooy for a favor with the Dutchman still hailed as a hero on the terraces at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag has shown a strong tendency to sign Eredivisie players this summer. A standard £84 million Antony’s move came after Lisandro Martinez was also poached from Ajax, while Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen also have links to Dutch football.

Despite the Red Devils’ plethora of options out and about in attacking midfield, they may be wise to strike while they can, with Simons making it hard to ignore.

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