Liverpool have reached an agreement to sign Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven when the January transfer window opens, subject to a work permit.
The 23-year-old arrives on the back of some strong performances for the Netherlands at the World Cup, with three goals in five games helping his country reach the quarter-finals.
We’ll assess his Fantasy Premier League (FPL) appeal in this Scout Report piece.
WHAT PLAYER AND MANAGER HAVE SAID
“I feel really good, I’m really excited to be here. I’m looking forward to start training and start playing for this amazing club. I think this is a great club for me to come in and try to show what I can [do] and try to help the team to achieve more beautiful moments that they already did in the past years. I think for me personally it’s also good to develop here and there’s a lot of great players here [who] I can learn a lot of things from.” – Cody Gakpo
“There is a lot to like about Cody. He is still only 23 years old but he already has a lot of experience. He was the captain of PSV, he was the Player of the Year in Holland last season and, as a lot of people have just seen, he also had a great World Cup with his national team. So, it is clear that he is already a really, really good player but his age also means he also has the potential to become even better. Offensively, he is very versatile and on top of this we know he is a smart footballer and also a smart person, so we are really excited to be able to work with him.” – Jurgen Klopp
“The position he has played most often is on the left, that is clear. But he can play all four positions up front if you play a 4-2-3-1. He is still very young and was in really good form for Holland and for PSV. The position he probably prefers he can play is on the left of a 4-3-3.” – Jurgen Klopp
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Born in Eindhoven, Gakpo is a product of PSV’s youth system, having progressed all the way through the ranks before making his senior debut with a brief substitute appearance against Feyenoord in 2018.
He went on to make a total of 159 appearances for PSV across all competitions, scoring 55 goals.
This season, he has been in particularly fine form, netting nine goals and providing 12 assists in 14 league games. Before the World Cup break, he ranked top of the Eredivisie for both goals and assists, as well as shots attempted and chances created:
To date, Gakpo has appeared 14 times for his country, with six goals scored, which included three at the World Cup in Qatar.
GAKPO’S PLAYING STYLE
“Cody is still a young player. He’s only been playing for PSV for two or three years, and always played on the left side. [Now he is showing] he can play in the middle. He has everything it takes to become a star. I had more or less expected that he would evolve this way, but I believe that he’s going to evolve even further, much further, so I’m not surprised [by his performances] at all.” – Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal
Gakpo is a right-footed attacker who has mostly played on the left in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, though he has played the odd game for PSV and his country at the World Cup through the middle.
For a winger, he is unusually tall at around 6’2”, an interesting attribute that could potentially benefit Liverpool’s full-backs.
His crossing ability from dead ball situations and open play is a big reason why he is the Eredivisie’s top chance creator, with his shot map showing a player who thrives attacking the left half-space:
WHEN CAN GAKPO MAKE HIS DEBUT?
“There might be a chance for Brentford but not really. There is a Bank Holiday on Monday and paperwork needs to be signed. Probably Wolves.” – Jurgen Klopp on Cody Gakpo’s potential debut
Gakpo, who will wear the no.18 jersey, could be eligible to make his debut as early as Monday when Liverpool visit Brentford in Gameweek 19.
However, that is far from certain, given that his work permit application won’t be submitted until New Year’s Day.
As a result, it’s more likely he will make his debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup on 7th January, with his first Premier League appearance away at Brighton and Hove Albion in Gameweek 20.
THE FPL PROSPECTS
Liverpool have made their move for Gakpo with Luis Diaz (£7.8m) and Diogo Jota (£8.8m) facing spells on the sidelines. The former has not played since Gameweek 10 and there is no official timeframe on his return, while Jota is expected to be out until February. Roberto Firmino (£8.1m), meanwhile, is also out until early next month with an injury of his own.
As a result, the Reds’ forward options are currently Mohamed Salah (£12.8m) and Darwin Nunez (£9.0m), with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£4.9m) making a rare start in the front three during the 3-1 win at Aston Villa in Gameweek 17.
In that sense, Gakpo eases Jurgen Klopp’s short-term problems on the left. When everyone is fully fit, there will be stiff competition, but in the meantime, he should get plenty of first-team opportunities. Now, the question is, can Gakpo hit the ground running and become an FPL option?
The impressive impact made by Diaz after his arrival from Porto in the previous January window offers encouragement, as do Gakpo’s 2022/23 numbers (see below).
|Mins per goal
|Mins per shot
|Mins per shot on target
|Mins per chance created
Of course, you’d expect those numbers to take a hit in the transition from Eredivisie to Premier League – particularly creatively if he can’t wrestle set pieces from Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.2m) and Andrew Robertson (£6.8m) – yet the output is very strong regardless.
One of the key questions with projecting Gakpo’s FPL ceiling is what position he will ultimately be. As an £8.0m midfielder, for example, he could potentially become a differential option from Gameweek 20 onwards, especially if a Double Gameweek is added for Liverpool in that period, which has been mooted. In that scenario, he could be considered alongside the likes of Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden in the £8.0m bracket.
Gakpo’s performances suggest he could provide a crucial boost for Liverpool in the second half of the season, which could also benefit others. His movements from the left should complement an overlapping full-back like Robertson, while in Alexander-Arnold’s case, having another ‘big’ target to aim for towards the back post is surely a good thing.
Gakpo is an exciting player and his rising goals and assists stats show that he is improving. And while Salah and Darwin remain the go-to Liverpool attackers for now, the new signing presents an intriguing differential option if classified as a midfielder.