Leeds United’s hopes of signing Cody Gakpo in the January transfer window have been dismissed by a trusted source.
The Whites made a transfer deadline day play to bring in the PSV attacker, with Victor Orta chartering a flight to Eindhoven. And despite initially looking like they would win the race, the Whites director of football returned to Yorkshire empty handed. Ultimately, the winger decided to stay where he was, with Louis van Gaal proving influential in Gakpo’s thinking.
Leeds’ ultimately ended up signing Italy striker Willy Gnonto, who arrived in a deal from FC Zurich. The teenager striker will be expected to get up to speed relatively quickly.
Despite that, Fabrizio Romano claims Leeds will continue to pursue the Netherlands attacker. To that end, Gakpo will be the club’s No 1 target in the January transfer window.
However, the manner of Leeds’ efforts to sign Gakpo in the summer window have been called into question. In a revealing interview, PSV director John de Jong cast serious doubts on the validity of the offer from the Yorkshire side.
While the actual amount Leeds bid has not been revealed, De Jong suggests it was for an amount not deemed acceptable.
“Leeds United’s director flew in and talked to Cody. We received and listened to Leeds, but in the end, no concrete offer was put on the table where we thought we should sell him now,” De Jong told PSV TV, via Voetbal International.
“I think everyone knows that a club has to make an outgoing transfer every year. That’s in the budget. So did we, but in the end, there was not such a good offer on the table that we really considered letting him go.”
Phil Hay doubts Leeds Utd’s Cody Gakpo prospects
Gakpo has made an electric start to the season with PSV. The reigning Eredivisie Player of the Year has an astonishing seven goals and six assists from nine games this season.
As such, demand for the player is likely to be high come the January window. As a result, The Athletic’s Phil Hay thinks Gakpo is likely to be moving in levels beyond Jesse Marsch’s side.
And any dreams chairman Andrea Radrizzani had of moving for Gakpo in January are seemingly already up in smoke.
“If Gakpo goes to the World Cup, if Gakpo has a good World Cup, if he has a good domestic season with PSV, his value’s going to increase; his value’s going to go up. And I think he will move fairly rapidly into the Champions League bracket,” he said on the Phil Hay Show podcast.
“So I would question, quite honestly, whether beyond this window Leeds have much chance of signing him at all. I’m not sure how realistic that is.
“That’s not to say that they can’t. But something tells me that if they were going to, further beyond this window that’s just gone, then they’re going to have to seriously, seriously push the boat out.”
Leeds chance has now gone
Hay, is of course, right. Gakpo is moving at levels well beyond the Eredivise and, as things stand, beyond a club of Leeds United’s level.
Quite often Leeds have used their status to tell top targets to use the club as a springboard for bigger and better things. Raphinha, who this summer earned his dream move to Barcelona, is a prime example of that.
It was a tactic they also tried – albeit unsuccessfuly – to try and lure Charles De Ketelaere with earlier this summer. He ultimately moved to Milan; securing that instant Champions League ‘reward’ in the process.
Gakpo now also looks destined for the very top level.
A good World Cup with the Netherlands will only heighten his demand even further. And if he continues scoring at his current rate, there will be some serious big hitters, including Manchester United, looking to prise him away come the winter window.
Cody Gakpo scored 21 times last season, weighing in with 15 assists. At his current rate, he looks well on course to surpass that this time around.