The arrival of Cody Gakpo will mark “the end” for Roberto Firmino at Liverpool, according to former Reds defender Jose Enrique.
Brazilian forward Firmino has spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Merseyside giants, winning the Premier League and Champions League among a host of honours.
His contract is due to expire at the end of this season, however, and Enrique believes the impending signing of Gakpo from PSV is a signal that time is almost up at Anfield for Firmino.
PSV announced on Monday evening a deal is in place to take Netherlands international Gakpo to Liverpool, in what they said will be a record sale for the Dutch club.
Their previous record sale saw Hirving Lozano join Napoli for a reported €45million, and the size of Liverpool’s investment indicates they are buying Gakpo for a starting spot.
With Mohamed Salah signing up to a new deal in the close season, and the likes of Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez also looking to play regularly, when fit, Firmino may be squeezed out.
Klopp has been a big advocate of Firmino’s qualities, so the situation may not be as clear-cut as Enrique makes it, but the Spaniard sees Firmino having no future with his current club.
Writing on Instagram, Enrique claimed: “I believe this means is the end of firmino with us. It happens when we sign Luis Diaz with mane. I believe is going to be the same this time with gakpo and firmino. Do you agree?”
Liverpool elected to sell Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich in June, as Enrique pointed out, after bringing in Diaz at the start of the year and then striking a deal to acquire Nunez from Benfica.
There is a natural evolution happening within the Liverpool forward ranks, with the long-established front three of Salah, Mane and Firmino having already fragmented.
Enrique, 36, had a five-year stay at Liverpool that ended with his release at the end of the 2015-16 season. He has since retired and works in the media.
Although Liverpool did not immediately comment on Monday’s news coming out of PSV, Reds goalkeeping coach John Achterberg wrote beneath a recent Instagram post from Gakpo: “Welcome to the club Cody.”
Gakpo will want to play consistently, with the 23-year-old having also been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid.
He has earned his big move after shining for Ruud van Nistelrooy’s side.
He has scored nine goals and provided 12 assists in 14 Eredivisie games this season, the third-highest tally of goal contributions (21) after 14 games in the league since the 1999-00 season – only Van Nistelrooy (27 in 1999-00) and former Liverpool man Luis Suarez (25 in 2009-10) have bettered that tally.
Gakpo also impressed for the Netherlands at the World Cup in Qatar, where he scored three goals.
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