Leeds United attempted to PSV‘s Cody Gakpo on transfer deadline day this summer, but waited until the 11th hour to push through a move to Elland Road and ultimately came up short.
Premier League rivals Southampton had also been strongly linked to the player throughout the window, but The Athletic reported that Gakpo decided to stay with the Dutch giants until at least January.
On October 27th, Fabrizio Romano provided an update on Gakpo, saying that the race is all but over for Leeds with other clubs now interested in the player, he claimed: “Cody Gakpo is doing fantastic with PSV. His transfer situation has now changed: Leeds and Southampton wanted to bid again for January but that kind of move looks unlikely. Top European clubs are interested in signing Gakpo in 2023.”
Manchester United also reportedly agreed personal terms with the players representatives late in the window and given the size of clubs now interested, there will be some stern competition for his signature.
According to Calcio Mercato, Liverpool now lead the race for the player. However, other reports have emerged outlining Leeds’ attempts “bothered” the player over the summer.
Ex-Netherlands midfielder Willem van Hanegem has claimed in his column for Algemeen Dagblad (via Sport Witness) that Leeds’ attempts distracted Gakpo earlier on in the season.
Van Hanegm believes Gakpo’s form suffered in the big competitions early on this season, he said:
“I expect a lot from Gakpo. In the summer, I had the idea that he was bothered by all the nagging about a transfer to Leeds United or not. In that phase he sometimes drowned in top competitions.”
Gakpo has since gone on and exploded this season in the Netherlands, scoring and assisting 30 in just 24 games, and van Hanegem is impressed with his form since the poor start:
“That didn’t mean I thought he was a bad player.
“I know from a reliable source that this boy is very well placed; that he is really trying to get the most out of his career. This World Cup is the time for him to show himself to the world.”
Gakpo and Holland start their World Cup tournament with a match against Senegal shortly.
Quiz: 20 questions about Leeds United’s recent transfer activity – Can you score 100%?
I think claiming Leeds’ interest was a distraction is perhaps exaggerative.
There were bigger fish in the pond looking at capturing Gakpo’s signature, and the Whites cannot have been the main head-turner for the Dutchman.
He’s a player who has become out of reach for Leeds and will end up at a top European side this summer or in the January window. The Whites require a forward in January, but it won’t be Gakpo.