Liverpool added the reigning Dutch Footballer of the Year to their squad with the signing of Cody Gakpo in January 2023.
Born on May 7, 1999 in Eindhoven, Gakpo set out on his journey towards the professional game by trialling with PSV at the age of six, beginning a development that would see him blossom into a leading figure for club and country.
Having progressed all the way through the Eredivisie side’s youth ranks, a first chance to represent the team he supported as a boy at senior level arrived in February 2018 with a brief substitute appearance against Feyenoord in league action.
The special moment of his maiden goal for PSV came later in the same year, with Gakpo opening the scoring in a 4-0 Dutch cup victory away at Excelsior Maassluis in the September.
The attacker established himself as a regular member of the first-team squad across the remainder of the 2018-19 campaign, including 16 Eredivisie appearances.
Cody’s trajectory would then take a sharper upturn in the seasons that followed, with seven goals and seven assists during a 2019-20 league campaign that was curtailed in the Netherlands due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There were 11 strikes across all competitions in 2020-21, before a 2021-22 campaign that brought another surge forward in productivity as well as personal and collective success.
Gakpo, a composed finisher off either foot, provided 12 goals and 13 assists in the Eredivisie and netted the winning goal as PSV recovered from a deficit to defeat AFC Ajax and lift the Dutch cup in April.
His stellar form was subsequently acknowledged with the award of the country’s Footballer of the Year honour – becoming the first player from the club to take the prize since former Red Georginio Wijnaldum in 2014-15.
Cody had left his mark in European competitions, too, scoring seven times in 15 outings across Champions League qualifiers, the Europa League and Europa Conference League.
That scintillating performance level continued and advanced into the current term, as the versatile forward racked up both the most goals (nine) and assists (12) in the Eredivisie in 14 games before the pause for the World Cup.
After making a first senior international appearance for the Netherlands at last summer’s Euro 2020, he started all of his nation’s five matches at the World Cup and impressed on the global stage as they reached the quarter-finals in Qatar.
Gakpo was on the scoresheet in every group game at the tournament for the Dutch, converting a header past Senegal, thumping in a finish from 20 yards against Ecuador and sweeping home on the run versus the hosts.