Arsenal’s latest Europa League success could prove to be crucial in helping Mikel Arteta lure his next transfer target to the club after beating PSV Eindhoven on Thursday.
The Gunners head coach may be set to miss out on Ukrainian sensation Mykhaylo Mudryk but the possibility of signing Cody Gakpo as an alternative has increased following his flattering comments about the club.
The north London outfit secured a 1-0 success over the Dutch giants thanks to Granit Xhaka’s strike in the second half, securing a deserved win for the hosts as they continued their 100 per cent record in the competition so far.
Arsenal carried out their defensive gameplan perfection in managing to limit the influence in-form winger Gakpo, who experienced a rare off-night on his Emirates audition. It was only the third game this season in which the 23-year-old failed to score or assist and he was left impressed by what he witnessed from his opponents.
“It was a great atmosphere and a good team,” Gakpo said. “We tried our best, but we failed to get a result. It was a little bit frustrating instead of a real joy to play here.”
Gakpo has scored 15 goals and laid on eight assists in just 18 appearances this season for PSV, highlighting just why several Premier League clubs including Manchester United were keen on capturing his signature.
And the forward’s revelation that he nearly joined the Red Devils before the deal collapsed may present Arsenal with a chance to get one over their rivals.
“I was close to leaving,” he revealed earlier this week. “I spoke to Erik ten Hag a few times at Manchester United. In the end, the deal didn’t go through, which was a shame for me and my development.
“Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world, but also for PSV because to transfer a player to Manchester United is a good thing for the club.
Gakpo’s comments will be music to the ears of Arteta, who has been keen to add another winger to his squad for several months.
Mudryk, 21, is understood to be one of their prime targets and the club sent scouts to watch him in the Champions League against Celtic earlier this month. The youngster has admitted he holds some desire to play in the Premier League and would not turn down a move to join them.
“Arsenal is a very good team with very good coach and I like the way they play” he told CBS Sports. “From my side, I can’t say no [to Arsenal] but the transfer is not only my decision. It’s a lot of people, like the president of Shakhtar and the club.
However, a report from French outlet Media Foot suggests Paris Saint-Germain are set to launch a bid for the Shakhtar Donetsk star, amid concerns over Kylian Mbappe’s long-term future at the club.
With Shakhtar holding out for a huge fee of £50m, Arsenal may see more value in pursuing a proven goalscorer like Gakpo if Mudryk decides to head to PSG.