top transfer advice from Depay and Bergwijn

It now seems to have been established that PSV will be saying goodbye to Cody Gakpo (22) this summer. The native of Eindhoven has been associated with a transfer to a top competition all season. The winger is by no means the first there in recent years. The consequences of the transitions of Memphis Depay (Manchester United and FC Barcelona) and Steven Bergwijn (Tottenham Hotspur) contain important lessons for the upcoming top transfer of Gakpo.

The future of Cody Gakpo will come up often enough in the coming weeks. With seventeen goals and fifteen assists, the 22-year-old PSV player is of improbably important to Roger Schmidt’s team this season. Last weekend, the Eindhoven resident helped to clear the gap against FC Twente, which led 3-0 against PSV at half-time and eventually drew 3-3. It is a signal that Gakpo is actually too important for PSV. That while the people of Eindhoven had to miss their star player remarkably often this season. The latter is currently the biggest obstacle to foreign football glory; After all, in other facets of the game, Gakpo is already further than Memphis Depay and Steven Bergwijn when they left the Eindhoven nest and dived into the large, foreign football world.

Cody Gakpo

If you look at the three breakthrough wingers from the PSV training (Depay – Bergwijn – Gakpo, ed.), then, apart from their different player profiles and the resulting individual qualities, one important thing stands out: the way PSV plays football and the status. of the Eindhoven residents compared to the main competitors in the Eredivisie. The time in which Gakpo broke through at PSV was of course a different phase in the history of the club than the moment Memphis Depay took his first steps in the first team of the Eindhoven team.

Depay ended up in a team with big names such as Andrés Guardado, Hilvring Lozano and Luuk de Jong. Bergwijn came in when Memphis was the big man. This means that the two wingers always had players to support themselves, men who stood up when things were not going well and could thus bring players such as Depay and Bergwijn into position to make the difference.

The development of Gakpo has a very different character. The winger made his first minutes as the first team player of the Eindhoven team in the 2018/2019 season. In his first sixteen appearances, Gakpo has already scored one goal and five assists in the Eredivisie. Only after Bergwijn’s departure to Tottenham Hotspur (January 2020) does the production of Gakpo actually start to increase. In the season that Bergwijn left, Gakpo scored eight goals and nine assists in 38 games. Last year, the left winger did that again with 11 goals and three assists in 29 games. This year there seems to be no size at all for Gakpo, although a number of good seasons in the Eredivisie are no longer a guarantee of a successful foreign switch.

Memphis Depay

The move from Memphis to Manchester United is perhaps the best specter of that. After a number of strong years at the Phillips Stadium and a starring role at the 2014 World Cup, the Dutch winger left with high hopes for England, where Louis van Gaal had just signed as United coach. In the Netherlands we often ran the polonaise behind a successful action by Memphis, who found out in England that actions and goals alone do not succeed in the European top.

If you look at the row of clubs that are allegedly interested in Gakpo, the reserve captain of PSV is more likely to go to the ‘Memphis clubs’ than the ‘Bergwijn clubs’. Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Manchester United: Gakpo’s goals and assists, which he managed more than 30 times this season despite his lingering injuries, ensured that his name ended up in the scouting records of the biggest football associations. However, the main difference with Memphis can ensure that Gakpo does succeed in his first foreign move.

That reason is not even directly on the field, but lies in the different characters of Gakpo and Memphis. If you compare the two, Gakpo actually plays the way he presents himself in the media: thoughtful, always calm and with an eye for his surroundings. Unlike Memphis, who tries to get balls on goal from every angle or prefers to play out his direct opponent twice before making a follow-up action, Gakpo therefore plays much more in the team’s interest than his predecessor at PSV and teammate at Orange. That also gives him an important advantage: as your trainer you can build on individual quality within the team interest instead of applying the team interest to the individual quality, as happened with Memphis in Koeman’s time with Orange and in recent years. at Olympique Lyon.

Steven Bergwijn

In that respect, Gakpo fits more in the vein of Bergwijn. The Tottenham Hotspur attacker is actually an ideal classic winger who has come to stand on the other wing due to modern football. Bergwijn is a player who can do two things very explosively: dribbling/running to get himself in a promising (shot) position and then wreak havoc with that right leg of his. The fact that the attacker still has some gains in position play and running lines without the ball, something that can have a negative effect on the team’s interests, ensures that Bergwijn does not always get playing minutes at Spurs on the flanks.

Antonio Conte, who said after Bergwijn’s goal against Newcastle that he was happy with the Dutchman’s performance, only has no room in his tactics for a ‘classic’ winger, but generally plays with three center defenders and two disguised wingbacks (read : attacking players you use as a wingback). Since you have to be able to do more than dribble, run and kick, the pain-fast Bergwijn is especially important for Tottenham in the last phase of the game and that will not change once Conte still holds sway at Tottenham Stadium.

However, Gakpo won’t get caught up in that situation anytime soon. This is primarily because trainers with such a preference do not buy classic wingers anyway – which is also the reason why Conte did not want to bring Bergwijn to Internazionale. If Gakpo chooses a club where the trainer is fired and the successor plays with a tactic without classic wingers, Gakpo does have the football intelligence to express his specific qualities from a different position, and therefore very different game situations within ninety minutes of football. come. However, that will require a longer adjustment time than when Gakpo signs with a club known for the winger and the combinations to get there.

Ideal transfer location

If you keep the paths of Memphis and Bergwijn in mind and you look at the possibilities for Gakpo, you come to an unpopular conclusion. The Bayern Munich and Liverpools of this world are interested, but whether Gakpo immediately has the impact on these teams that he could have as a starting PSV player is questionable. The competition is better than in Eindhoven and the players who play in the European top generally have much more experience than a 22-year-old winger from the Eredivisie. In other words: it is already twice as difficult to force a starting spot as a young player (which Gakpo still is according to foreign standards). You actually need an intermediate top transfer: a step forward, but not all at once to the top.

The ideal intermediate class is for Gakpo in England. Arsenal’s interest has been swept away in recent months by the interest of the absolute top teams in Europe. The Gunners are no longer as successful as they were under Arsene Wenger’s prime time, the club still has a clear philosophy and can therefore seamlessly fit players like Gakpo into the system without many adjustments being required from the player.

This is extremely important, especially when you embark on a foreign adventure for the first time. The adjustments that you have to make as a (young) person are already great. If the way of playing, which initially brought you the transfer, has to change, nothing will stay the same and it is not surprising that you no longer reach your old level, and sometimes can no longer be played for a long time. to fetch. That happened at Memphis. That happens at Bergwijn. But that doesn’t have to happen at Gakpo, provided the Dutchman considers his choice for his new club as carefully as his choices on the pitch.

POLL: What will Gakpo leave PSV for?