Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said on Thursday that Cody Gakpo did not need convincing to join the club, despite Netherlands teammate Virgil van Dijk talking to the forward before his move from PSV Eindhoven.
Klopp’s side beat Manchester United to the signing of the Dutch forward for a transfer fee which sources told ESPN was worth around £37 million ($45m).
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Klopp described the signing as a “home run” and said the 23-year-old did not need to be persuaded to join the club.
When asked whether Van Dijk spoke to Gakpo before signing, Klopp said: “Before he technically signed, yes, but Virg was involved from a specific moment on. But we didn’t tell him ‘Talk to him’ because there was no reason for it. When I was allowed to speak to him, I spoke to him.
“There are some of these nice moments when you are manager of Liverpool FC and you realise you think you have to convince somebody and then you realise during your talk, ‘Oh, the door is wide open, it’s more or less a home run.’ And it was cool.
“So we didn’t need Virgil to convince him. But after that, obviously Virgil likes to be involved in these kind of things and from a specific moment on he had his say as well. But all good.”
Upon signing for the club, Gakpo said Van Dijk had told him a move to Liverpool would help the forward to “develop and to become a better player.”
“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,” Gakpo told the club’s website.
“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.”
Gakpo will officially become a Liverpool player on Jan. 1. Klopp said “there might be a chance” he could make his debut in their clash with Brentford a day later, but suggested their FA Cup match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Jan. 7 was a more realistic date.
“What I heard now, we are obviously very early, which is good, but there might be a chance for Brentford — but I think not really, to be honest,” he said.
“Because obviously the first of January is a Bank Holiday and then all the papers, which we don’t have to sign but some other people, will have to be signed on the 2nd until lunchtime. I’m not too positive that that will happen but we will not rush it anyway. So, probably Wolves.”
Liverpool, who return to Premier League action against Leicester City on Friday, are sixth in the table — five points off fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand.