PSV Eindhoven director John de Jong has spoken about the circumstances that saw Leeds United fail to land the Eredivisie club’s star man Cody Gakpo on transfer deadline day.
The Whites enjoyed a solid transfer window, bringing in nine new players, including Italy striker Wilfried Gnonto on deadline day. Indeed, deals for the likes of Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams and Luis Sinisterra have given the Whites a bold new look. Underpinned by the sales of Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha, that policy appeared to work well with Leeds only losing one of their first five.
But a disastrous 5-2 defeat at Brentford on Saturday saw old alarm bells ring loud for Leeds. Amid some woeful defending, the defeat illustrated just how much improvements the club still needs to make. Certainly Patrick Bamford put his fingers on the issues they faced during his pre-match assessment.
Despite their plethora of summer signings, Leeds did try to boost their squad further on deadline day. That came when Leeds director of football Victor Orta chartered a private jet to Eindhoven and tried to strike a late deal for Gakpo.
However, as documented, Orta flew back to Yorkshire without Gakpo and, seemingly, as a beaten man.
At the time, Leeds’ failure to agree a deal for Gakpo was reportedly down to a last-minute change of heart from the player.
Indeed, it appeared Leeds, at their end, had done all they could to get a deal done. Amid claims that a club-record £38.8m fee had been agreed, Gakpo reportedly had a change of heart after a chat with Louis van Gaal.
Apparently, the Netherlands coach strongly dissuaded Gakpo from moving leagues with the World Cup a few months away. Taking his advice on board, the story went that Gakpo declined the move at the 11th hour.
John de Jong reveals truth on Leeds United’s Cody Gakpo bid
However, PSV director De Jong has now shed new light on the Leeds approach. Lifting the lid on Orta’s dash to Holland, he claims their bid was not enough for PSV to agree his sale.
Painting a new truth as to what was previously reported, he suggests the deal fell down for different reasons. And rather than suggest it was down to a late U-turn by Gakpo, De Jong suggests Leeds’ offer fell short of their asking price.
“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.”
De Jong admits the failure was tough for Gakpo himself, as the player himself has explained.
“It’s hard, it was hard for Cody too. We got together on Thursday morning to talk about it,” he added.
PSV will be delighted to keep star man
The news of Gakpo’s stay was, understandably, very well received by all at PSV.
The Dutch club will no hold talks with Gakpo over extending his deal with them.
And they will hope for the long-term stay of the forward. He has already bagged seven goals and six assists from nine games this season.
Those numbers though will seemingly tempt suitors towards the player from bigger clubs from the likes of Leeds.
That said, trusted reporter Fabrizio Romano states the Whites will look to make a fresh play for Gakpo in January.
The Italian reports that Gakpo remains on their radar and remains their ‘main target’ in January. However, he also has warned the Yorkshire side that any deal will not be easy. To that end, Romano states there will be ‘a lot of competition’.
Cody Gakpo, the reigning Eredivisie Player of the Year, scored 21 goals last season, weighing in with 15 assists.
READ MORE: Fabrizio Romano names No 1 January target for Leeds as factors behind failed Gakpo move are revealed
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