Fabrizio Romano names No 1 January target for Leeds Utd as factors behind Cody Gakpo failed Whites move are revealed

PSV ace Cody Gakpo

Leeds United will try again to sign Cody Gakpo in the January transfer window after the factors behind their failed deadline day pursuit came to light.

The PSV winger is one of European football’s most in-demand talents right now. The reigning Eredivisie Player of the Year smashed in 21 goals last season and weighed in with 15 assists to announce himself as a player of genuine quality. As such, it was little surprise to see Gakpo finding himself the subject of three serious approaches in the summer window.

The first of those came from Manchester United. Indeed, the winger has explained how United’s interest only faded late on with Gakpo less than impressed at their treatment.

However, United’s decision not to sign him opened the door up for two more Premier League suitors. Southampton were first on to the scene, with Saints agreeing a club-record fee of around £38.8m to sign him.

That bid was quickly matched by Leeds. Their director of football Victory Orta chartered a flight to Eindhoven to get the deal done. And the bold plan was meant to see the Whites agree a move and bring Gakpo back to Yorkshire with him.

All seemed to be on plan until a last-minute change of heart from the winger left the Leeds chief returning from the Netherlands a beaten man.

However, Leeds United refuse to give up on the player. As per trusted reporter Fabrizio Romano, Leeds will ‘try again’ for Gakpo in the January window.

The main factor behind his decision to stay was simply, with the World Cup looming, he did not want to risk losing his form by changing clubs. He is a shoo-in for Van Gaal’s side. But his manager’s warning about how a transfer could risk that place convinced Gakpo to stay.

Cody Gakpo subject of fresh move by Leeds United

And with Leeds ready to launch a new bid for Gakpo in January, Romano has stated he is the Whites’ ‘main target’. However, he also has warned the Yorkshire side that any deal will not be easy with there being ‘a lot of competition’.

Another trusted reporter, The Athletic’s Leeds United oracle, Phil Hay, claims Gakpo was ready to make the move to Elland Road on deadline day.

Speaking on The Phil Hay Show he said: “There was a point at which Leeds were under the impression that Southampton had effectively matched PSV’s valuation or were very close to it, so Leeds, from what I’m told, went in above Southampton’s valuation in the hope of killing the competition, getting the deal done, striking a quick agreement with PSV that meant Gakpo could be on the plane the following morning.

“From what I’m told as well, they were confident and optimistic that it was their offer that Gakpo wanted to accept. It was that if he was coming to the Premier League, it was Elland Road he wanted to move to.

“But PSV dug their heels in, decided that they weren’t going to accept either offer. They also made it clear that there were no grounds for negotiation on that. They were not going to have a change of heart and they are going to keep him, which they have.”

Has that transfer ship sailed for Leeds?

Gakpo himself has indicated that he was ready to make the move to Elland Road too.

Speaking recently, he has explained the factors behind his failed deadline day move.

“I’m glad it’s over. For me it was the first window where it was stay or go.

“In the last week it was looking at what was the right thing to do. I feel at home here, in my own city. Everyone knows how I feel here. But of course there are other things at play and I think you should have all the options. I did that too.

“In the end, PSV came up with a good offer that seemed to be the right choice.”

Gakpo remains on course to beat his tally of last season already. In just nine matches, he already has seven goals and six assists.

As such, there will be plenty of sides sitting up and taking serious notice of his form.

Furthermore, if he can take that sort of form into the World Cup, he will attract many more huge clubs.

Having initially agreed a fee and then having it rejected, Leeds may also find the price even higher in January.

Deals are notoriously hard to get over the line in the mid-season window. As such, it looks a tall order in convincing PSV to sell then.

Cody Gakpo, though, is a special player and worth pursuing, especially if Leeds feel there’s any chance still.

Patrick Bamford, meanwhile, is tipping Leed to learn from their mistakes after Saturday’s thrashing at Brentford.