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Manchester United report: Scouts keep close tabs on rising stars at PSV and Sporting

Cody Gakpo
(Image credit: PA)

Manchester United scouts are monitoring PSV winger Cody Gakpo and Sporting CP midfielder Joao Palhinha ahead of a possible move for both players in the summer, say reports.

Interim Red Devils boss Ralf Rangnick asked for Gakpo to be scouted, the Mirror (opens in new tab)writes, after being impressed by the 22-year-old’s rapid rise in the Eredivisie.

He was last monitored by United (opens in new tab)during PSV’s 1-0 first leg win over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Conference League play-offs, where he scored the winning goal.

Palhinha has also caught the eye of United, who have sent representatives to watch him in eight games this season, but he's tied down on a deal until 2026 in Lisbon.

However, that doesn’t rule out a potential signing as Sporting are said to be ready to listen to offers over £20 million, despite the defensive midfielder having a release clause set at around £50m.

The main competition for Palhinha is said to be from Atletico Madrid (opens in new tab) and Wolves (opens in new tab), but the Spaniards might not be able to afford a deal and the player isn’t keen on a move to Wolverhampton.

Both players have been on an upward trajectory in recent years, with Gakpo earning a place in the Netherlands squad last summer after banging in 11 goals in all competitions for PSV in 2020/21.

He only made one substitute appearance at the Euros, but he’s already bettered his tally from last season at club level, with 13 goals and 13 assists to his name in 33 games.

Palhinha has turned things around at Sporting since returning from a two-year loan at Braga to be left to train by himself amid talks about a move to CSKA Moscow or Al Nassr ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.

The 26-year-old was reintegrated into the squad and became a key cog in the side that won last year’s Portuguese title, making 32 league appearances and scoring one goal.

His form last season earned him a place in the Primeira Liga team of the year and saw him earn his international debut in March 2021, before going to Euro 2020 with Portugal and featuring against France and Belgium. 

He's since become a regular for the Portuguese national team.

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.