PSV winger Cody Gakpo agreed personal terms with Manchester United in this summer transfer window, and was also very close to joining Leeds United, according to Fabrizio Romano.
Writing in his CaughtOffside column, Romano explained precisely what went on with Gakpo this summer, as Man Utd were close to a deal for him, but were only ready to pull the trigger if they failed to bring in their top target Antony.
In the end, the Red Devils managed to sign Antony from Ajax, meaning there was no deal for Gakpo, though it seems Leeds also made a late attempt to bring the highly-rated young Netherlands international to the Premier League.
The move couldn’t quite be done, however, with Leeds now expected to try again for Gakpo in January, according to Romano.
“Cody Gakpo had an agreement on personal terms with Manchester United. He had this dream of Man United, but for the club he was only a backup option in case they couldn’t sign Antony,” Romano explained.
“Still, Gakpo is a player who has always been on Man United’s list and they were prepared to bid for him in case the Antony deal didn’t happen.”
On Leeds’ pursuit of Gakpo, Romano added: “In the last 24 hours of the transfer window, Leeds did something important – around lunchtime, Southampton submitted a proposal for Gakpo, but during negotiations between Southampton and PSV, Leeds made a really important bid, which was accepted by PSV.
“The player also agreed personal terms with Leeds, but Louis van Gaal called the player and told him that the best option was to stay at PSV before the World Cup, and then move in January or next summer.
“This Van Gaal call was really important for Gakpo, and that’s why the deal collapsed.
“Still, Leeds had a flight ready for Gakpo, everything was ready, but it collapsed. Gakpo was one step away from Leeds, and I’m told they will try again in January. But it will be an open race because he’s a top talent and there is a lot of interest.”
Leeds fans will no doubt be gutted that they couldn’t quite get this over the line, but it seems there is cause to believe that the deal is not totally dead yet, which could make for an exciting January.
As for United, they would also surely do well to keep their eyes on how the 23-year-old continues to progress in the months ahead, as they may still find they could benefit from more signings in attack, depending on what happens with Cristiano Ronaldo, and if the likes of Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho can maintain their recent improvement.