The winter transfer window is already off to a potentially great start.
After PSV made the announcement two days ago, Liverpool finally made their own announcements, securing the arrival of Cody Gakpo to Merseyside following a medical. The pictures posted, the videos uploaded, the shirt held in front of the tree with care.
“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,” Gakpo said in his first interview for the club.
“It was really hectic because it went really fast and it was also Christmas. So I have to be with my family and also the deal was done, so I have to fly and everything. But I’m happy that I have a good family around me that I stay calm. That’s really nice.”
The January transfer window doesn’t officially open for four more days, so the speed of the signing was only unexpected in that regard. The chance to sign one of the World Cup’s breakout stars before any of our rivals though? There is no speed fast enough. It seemed moving to Liverpool felt like the right decision for Gakpo, too.
“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,” he continued.
One name in particular is the one Gakpo spent a lot of time recently with during the World Cup - Virgil van Dijk - who had also maybe crashed Cody’s moments a little bit.
“At the moment I was calling [in] with the coach, he came into the office of the coach and then he saw me and we chatted a little bit. We spoke a lot over the phone [in] the last days,” Gakpo said.
“What he told me was that this is the right move for me to make and for me to develop and to become a better player, that the club is a really big and massive club but also like a real family – I think that’s also very important for me because I’m a family guy. He said only good things. I’m also happy that he’s here, so he can help me with some stuff. I’m really grateful to be here.”
Virgil isn’t the only one to make an impact on the younger Dutchman. With a position that sees him play primarily on the left wing - a position already loaded with competition - Gakpo will have plenty of support from talented players. Mohamed Salah, of course, comes to mind despite playing on the opposite side.
“I’m really looking forward to [the competition]. What I said before, I can really learn from a lot of players and it’s for me just the case that I show who I am and try to do my best to help the team where I can,” the Dutchman added.
“It’s really great. [Salah]’s a fantastic player and I’m really looking forward to learning things from him and to see how he does things so I can also improve my game and that we can win a lot of games together.”
Playing on the left isn’t Gakpo’s only position, though, as many saw during the World Cup. As Audun mentioned, he’s delightfully two-footed and adept at playing through the middle or on the right if needed. He loves to break through lines and carry the ball through traffic, with impeccable timing for a release.
“When I played at the World Cup, I played more in the centre, so I played like a ‘false nine’, something like this – try to find my spaces to get the ball and to dribble or to move the ball forward,” Gakpo said of his positioning.
“I try to be a player who goes forward and tries to make dangerous situations for the opponent and create chances, make dribbles and give assists and goals. I hope that I can bring that also to the team. What I said, I have to try to do my best for that and hopefully we can get a lot of beautiful moments.”
And the fans? Gakpo hadn’t had the chance to play against Liverpool at Anfield and experience the storied atmosphere for himself, but is eager to get going and show what he can do for us.
“I’m really looking forward to that. I heard a lot of great stories about the stadium, about the atmosphere. I cannot wait.”