Erik ten Hag will be encouraged by this start, however, he will know that they can improve and thoughts will imminently turn to the January transfer window.
With Cristiano Ronaldo highly unlikely to play for United again, the Dutchman will be hoping to either replace him in January or make a marquee signing. The World Cup could throw up some interesting scenarios, especially with United linked with a few players who will be representing their countries in Qatar.
Cody Gakpo is one who the Red Devils have been routinely linked with since the summer and journalist Pete O’Rourke believes the manager will be watching him in Qatar.
Speaking to Football FanCast, the journalist said: “I think a lot of the top clubs in Europe should be looking at Cody Gakpo. He’s been in superb form for PSV Eindhoven this season – goals and assists.
“Lots of top clubs across Europe have been watching him. Manchester United have been strongly linked and I’m sure they will be keeping a close eye on how he goes at the World Cup with the Netherlands as well.”
With PSV pricing Gakpo at around £40m, it sounds like a very appealing move, especially considering his form this season.
In 19 league and Europe appearances this season, the Dutchman has registered a phenomenal 27 goal contributions (12 goals and 15 assists) and he heads into Qatar in splendid form.
Its no wonder his form has attracted so much interest and compared to positional peers in similar standard leagues, FBref rank Gakpo in the top 1% for non-penalty goals (0.58), the top 4% for touches in the opposition penalty area (5.93) and top 5% for dribbles completed (2.95) per 90.
These statistics clearly show that not only does the 23-year-old provide an excellent goalscoring threat, but he has the ability to create plenty of chances for others, and is a player who could thrive under Ten Hag.
Journalist Josh Bunting has described Gakpo as “electric” and with the Netherlands having a favourable World Cup group, there is no doubt he can be one of the breakthrough stars at the tournament.