Leeds gutted as Marsch admits deal was ‘99.9%’ done for World Cup superstar in summer

Cody Gakpo, Daley Blind, Netherlands, November 2022 Credit: Alamy
Cody Gakpo, Daley Blind, Netherlands, November 2022 Credit: Alamy

Jesse Marsch has revealed he “felt bad” as a deal for World Cup superstar Cody Gakpo was “99.9%” complete over the summer.

Gakpo was one of the most highly sought after players in Europe during the summer. Leeds United were among the sides fighting to get a deal done.

Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton were all among the sides linked with the Dutchman.

It is little wonder why there was so much interest in him following last season. Gakpo scored 12 goals and provided 13 assists in 27 Eredivisie appearances for PSV Eindhoven during the last campaign.

That haul made him PSV’s top goalscorer, during a season in which they came excruciatingly close to ending Ajax’s three-year reign of winning the division.

Indeed, PSV finished two points shy of the serial winners.

Gakpo also played a starring role in his side’s Europa Conference League campaign. The forward scored three goals and provided one assist in the five games that he played.

PSV made it to the quarter finals, where they were beaten 2-1 by Leicester City.

Leeds came ‘so close’ to Gakpo snare

Gakpo’s tremendous form in all competitions could have afforded him a big move. Indeed, there were a few offers from interested sides.

Leeds manager Marsch has revealed how close his side were to snaring the in-form forward.

“We were so close to securing a transfer for him in summer, I mean it was like it was so close and now obviously it is disappointing for us,” he told the Men in Blazers podcast.

“Our sports director [Victor Orta] was in Holland meeting with the family, had agreed on terms and everything, was talking with PSV, we were 99.9% so I felt bad for Victor and all the effort he put into it.”

Indeed, Leeds could have been in a much different position than they are now, had they snared him. The Whites are just two points above the relegation places at the moment.

Having a firing Gakpo in their ranks could have seen Marsch’s side much higher up the table.

Leeds move off the table

The manager has admitted that Leeds would now not be able to sign him, despite coming close previously. He referenced Gakpo’s World Cup form, which likely hinders Leeds’ chances.

“It’s difficult for us at Leeds because Gakpo has gotten out of our price range,” Marsch said.

“I’m also happy I talked to Cody in the process and I’m happy for him to have had so much success at the World Cup and show everyone how good he is.”

Indeed, Gakpo has been one of the most in-form players at the tournament. He is the joint-top goalscorer at the moment, with three goals in four games.

His club form has also likely bumped up his price tag. The forward is in ridiculous form at club level, having scored nine goals and provided 12 assists in just 14 Eredivisie games this campaign.

Gakpo has also been directly involved in five goals in five Europa League games. In the form he is in, a big move might not be far away, but it seems it will not be to Leeds.

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