Cody Gakpo one of four high-flying PSV academy graduates

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PSV aren’t even considered as having the best academy in the Netherlands, never mind in the rest of European football and indeed beyond.

Much of the credit in this regard goes the way of their fierce rivals Ajax, with the Amsterdam outfit justifying this feeling given their endless production line over the years.

They have produced the likes of Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Jurrien Timber, Sven Botman and Ryan Gravenberch. And that is just in the last few years.

Prior to this, they had of course helped develop a long list of footballing icons. This includes the small matter of Johan Cruyff, Dennis Bergkamp, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, Patrick Kluivert, Frank Rijkaard, Frank and Ronald de Boer, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart among many others.

But Eredivisie rivals PSV are certainly giving them a run for their money in recent times. The Eindhoven-based club have been key in progressing a handful of young stars in the last couple of seasons.

PSV certainly proved their worth in the Eredivisie at the weekend, defeating their rivals 2-1 in Amsterdam to go top of the table.

Here are four PSV academy graduates currently enjoying their football across Europe:

Arnaut Danjuma

One former PSV forward in fine form of late is Arnaut Danjuma. The Villarreal man is up and running for the campaign after missing a large period of the opening stages through injury.

Prior to his bright career in Spain, Danjuma spent several years progressing through the ranks at PSV. Spells at NEC, Club Brugge and Bournemouth followed.

Now with Villarreal, he has four goals from his 13 appearances this season, following on from his 16 strikes last time out. Bayern Munich and Juventus were among his victims last season as Villarreal reached the Champions League semi-finals.

The Spanish side have since dropped down to the Europa Conference League, while they have slipped to eighth in the La Liga standings. But Danjuma’s threat has remained constant, with the attacker scoring two goals in each of the two competitions. Links with Liverpool have surfaced in recent transfer windows.

Steven Bergwijn

Another attacker that is currently thriving this season is winger Steven Bergwijn. Unfortunately for PSV, he is doing damage for rivals Ajax. The former Tottenham Hotspur man has 10 goals and two assists this season.

He has had his foot in both camps, representing both Ajax and PSV at youth level. For various reasons, Bergwijn couldn’t quite fit in at Spurs, having made the switch there from PSV in 2020.

But he has since returned to the Netherlands, and is delivering in the final third for a team that has been ransacked in the summer. Ajax lost the likes of Antony, Gravenberch and Sebastien Haller from their ranks, but Bergwijn is more than helping fill the gap going forward.

Gianluca Scamacca

Despite his Italian roots, striker Gianluca Scamacca is another to have developed his abilities at PSV once upon a time. He initially lined out for the youth teams at both Lazio and Roma in his home city before the Netherlands outfit came calling.

Like Danjuma, however, the forward failed to land a spot in the PSV first team during his time in the country. Instead, he was limited to the club’s reserve team Jong PSV. A return to Italy came shortly after, with Scamacca going on to shine for Sassuolo.

Premier League club West Ham made their move in the summer, with the striker brought in to provide healthy competition for fellow striker Michail Antonio. He now looks to be a regular under David Moyes, scoring six goals from his 19 matches so far.

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Cody Gakpo

Undoubtedly at the top of the list of the most talented PSV academy graduates currently in circulation is Cody Gakpo. The winger is still with the Eredivisie outfit, but if recent reports are to be believed, he won’t be there for much longer.

Gakpo has been receiving endless plaudits for his displays this season. The 23-year-old has been terrorising defences both domestically and in the Europa League. Both Barcelona and Manchester United are reportedly eyeing his services. He already has 157 PSV appearances to his name.

Based on statistics alone, the attacker is right up there among Europe’s best forwards. He boasts an astonishing 13 goals and 17 assists from his 23 matches this season. Arsenal recently saw his talents up close, with the winger providing an assist in the recent 2-0 Europa League victory over the Gunners.

But Gakpo is, of course, much more than his statistics. His pace and trickery are seemingly impossible to defend against, with his direct approach capable of striking fear into some of the most formidable defenders out there.

Where could PSV star Gakpo go?

Just like Ajax have failed to hold on to their array of talents over the years, it seems that PSV star Cody Gakpo will have a similar fate. He is being chased by a handful of top European clubs, with a huge battle expected for his signature as early as January 2023.

In recent weeks, Barcelona have reportedly been showing an interest in bringing the attacker to Camp Nou. A move does, however, seem difficult, given both their financial situation and indeed their long list of talented attackers.

The situation in Spain will be encouraging news for Manchester United, with the Red Devils strongly linked with the PSV winger in recent times.

Manager Erik ten Hag certainly knows Gakpo well from their crossovers in the Eredivisie. Although in different camps, the pair will know each other well from their time in the country. The winger made his debut for PSV back in February of the 2017/18 campaign, just a few months after Ten Hag took over in the Ajax dugout.

Fellow Premier League clubs Southampton and Leeds have both been previously linked, with the latter reportedly remaining confident that a deal can be struck in the near future. Newcastle could also enter the picture, given their newly-added financial capabilities.

Internationally, Gakpo has made nine appearances for the Netherlands in his short career so far, but that number is expected to rise at the upcoming 2022 World Cup. His country meet Senegal, Ecuador and hosts Qatar in Group A, with the Netherlands undoubtedly confident of progressing to the next stages.

There are always a handful of players who shine on the big stage and earn a high-profile transfer shortly after, and Gakpo may just be one of them.

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