Manchester United’s nine-match unbeaten run came to a halt on Sunday when Aston Villa thrashed the Red Devils 3-1 thanks to goals from Leon Bailey, Lucas Digne and Jacob Ramsey.
It was a horrible performance from United, especially after their recent form which included not conceding a goal in open play for nearly a month.
Erik ten Hag made some iffy selection calls, including starting an ineffective Donny van de Beek in place of the suspended Bruno Fernandes.
Lack of threat of attack.
Fred’s high-energy style or Scott McTominay’s physical presence would have been better suited against a team visibly fresher than the 20-time English champions.
But one of the biggest drawbacks was the lack of attacking options off the bench for the Dutch manager to fall back on as his team needed to chase play.
PSV manager Brands has told ESPN that they want to keep Cody Gakpo in January as they turned down Leeds’ offer in August for around €30m plus an additional €11m. 🔴 #PSV
PSV always asked for a package of 50 million euros for Gakpo. pic.twitter.com/dYTVnoIGct
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 7, 2022
With the absence of Antony and Jadon Sancho, United’s attacking substitutions included the below-par Anthony Elanga and Anthony Martial, who returned from injury.
Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded the bracelet, but his performance showed no improvement as the Portuguese looked like a shadow of his former self.
He barely pressed, was completely ineffective when given the ball, and more importantly, his presence caused players to try to find him at every opportunity instead of finding better passing options.
Marcus Rashford was used from the right in the absence of a suitable right winger and struggled in his least comfortable position.
And all this again highlighted the need to acquire a good scorer. Cody Gakpo remains one of his long-term goals and his price has just been revealed.
According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, PSV Eindhoven are ready to accept a package of around €50m for their star attacker.
However, this time around, the race will be quite open with many of Europe’s elites closely following his exploits.
Gakpo the solution
“The value of Gakpo will again be close to 50 million euros. It depends on the bonuses and the conditions, but PSV always wanted a package of 50 million euros for Gakpo.
“Man Utd will face some serious competition for sure; English clubs and not only, it’s an open race,” Romano said in his exclusive column CaughtOffside.
Gakpo’s stats speak for themselves. In 23 games in all competitions, the 23-year-old has scored 13 times and provided a further 17 assists.
United are desperately crying out for attacking additions and Gakpo certainly fits the bill. But with the Glazers’ stance on January spending, it might be hard to sanction such an outlay.
Hopefully, common sense prevails and a goalscoring threat can be raised, especially if the Reds are serious about achieving their goals this season.