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World Cup: The rise of Cody Gakpo

Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo is one of the rising stars of European football and his stock has certainly been growing further at the World Cup in Qatar.

It is no surprise to see the talented 23-year-old thriving on the global stage, as he has been starring for his club PSV Eindhoven over the last three seasons, with his form going to an even greater level during 2022/23.

Gakpo's immediate focus will be on helping the Netherlands, who are priced at 20/1 to go all the way in Qatar, but it is going to be interesting to see what the long-term future holds for this Dutch delight.

Gakpo's stock growing in Qatar

The Netherlands are through to the knockout stages of the World Cup after claiming two wins and a draw to top Group A, but it is fair to say Louis van Gaal's side are yet to pull up any trees collectively at the tournament.

However, one man who has been catching the eye is Gakpo, as he has scored in each of the Oranje's opening three matches and he is currently the joint-leading scorer at the finals with three goals.

Gakpo is 14/1 to win the Golden Boot in Qatar and he will fancy his chances of getting on the scoresheet for a fourth-successive match when Oranje take on the United States in the round of 16 on Saturday.

The Dutch are 19/20 to win that game in the regulation 90 minutes and, with Gakpo in their line-up, there is every chance Van Gaal's side can book a quarter-final showdown with either Argentina or Australia.

It is not just Gakpo's goalscoring exploits which are catching the eye, as he has also showcased his abilities to set up chances for his team-mates, while he has the versatility to play anywhere across the front line or even as a No.10.

At 6ft 4in, nobody is going to beat the PSV ace easily in the air, while he also has the pace to strike fear into most defenders, to describe him as an all-round package would certainly not be wide of the mark and he is 33/1 to end the World Cup as the tournament's best player.

No surprise to see Gakpo starring

Many casual viewers may be surprised to see how well Gakpo has performed at the World Cup to date, but followers of the Eredivisie will know that this is no flash in the pan.

Gakpo is leading the way in the Dutch top-flight for both goals (nine) and assists (12) this season, with his exploits having helped PSV to 10 wins from their 14 league matches to date this term.

Throw into the mix the goals and assists Gakpo has contributed in Europe and his stats make for frightening reading, as he has been directly involved in 30 goals for PSV this season from just 24 appearances.

PSV currently sit third in the Eredivisie standings, three points behind leaders Feyenoord and are 5/2 to be crowned champions of Holland this term, although their hopes could rest on whether they can keep hold of Gakpo beyond the close of the January transfer window.

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Elite clubs set to target Gakpo

Gakpo is no stranger to transfer speculation, as he was heavily linked with a move to the Premier League during the summer, with Leeds United and Southampton reportedly showing an interest in his services.

Nothing came of those links and given Gakpo's performances for club and country this season, it appears clubs slightly higher up the food chain are now showing an interest in signing the versatile forward.

Manchester United and Liverpool have both been credited as admirers of Gakpo, with some reports suggesting Jurgen Klopp's side are set to enter talks with the player's representatives soon.

The Eindhoven-born star has stated at the World Cup that it is "always nice" to be linked with big clubs, but it will likely take a sizeable offer for PSV to consider parting ways with their prized asset, particularly midway through a season and as he is under contract at the Philips Stadion until the summer of 2026.

It has been reported that PSV were willing to listen to offers in excess of €50m for Gakpo prior to his World Cup exploits, but his efforts in Qatar may well have added an extra few million to that price tag.

It will surely rise further if he continues to excel at the finals, especially if that culminates in the Dutch finally lifting the trophy.

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