Virgil van Dijk’s brutal response after Cody Gakpo to Man United claim

With it put to Virgil van Dijk that Netherlands team-mate Cody Gakpo could move to Man United in the future, the centre-back gave a brutal response.

PSV Eindhoven forward Gakpo has been one of the breakout stars of this year’s World Cup so far, sitting joint-top scorer with three goals in four games.

That has only heightened speculation over the 23-year-old’s future, with Gakpo linked with the likes of Man United, Arsenal, Barcelona and Real Madrid, along with Liverpool.

According to GOAL‘s Neil Jones, however, Gakpo is “not somebody that is being actively targeted” by the Reds at this stage.

In the mixed zone following the Netherlands’ 3-1 win over the USA in the last 16 on Saturday evening, Van Dijk was asked about the prospect of his team-mate joining either Real Madrid or Man United.

“Are Manchester United and Real Madrid on the same level at this moment?” he replied, as quoted by The Athletic.

DOHA, QATAR - Sunday, November 20, 2022: Netherlands and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk (R) during a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center ahead of the opening Group A game between Senegal and Netherlands during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“No disrespect, not at all.

“I think he definitely has a next step in him. I definitely feel like it could happen. Whether it happens in the winter or next year, time will tell.

“But he’s a great boy, works hard, is very talented and there’s definitely more in him.

“We are very pleased he’s doing so well and long may it continue.”

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - Tuesday, June 14, 2022: Netherlands' Cody Gakpo celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the UEFA Nations League Group A4 game between the Netherlands and Wales at the de Kuip Stadium. Netherlands won 3-2. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While United do sit above Liverpool in the Premier League table at present – the Manchester club one place and four points ahead – Van Dijk does make a convincing point.

If a player of Gakpo’s potential has the option of either United or Real, the lure of Madrid would surely be more tempting at this stage.

Of course, though Van Dijk insisted there was “no disrespect,” the rivalry between Liverpool and United may well have crept in for a split-second!