Jesse Marsch claims Leeds were on the verge of signing Cody Gakpo in the summer

Jesse Marsch claims Leeds were on the verge of signing Cody Gakpo in the summer – with a deal ‘99.9 PER CENT’ done before collapsing – but concedes the Holland star will now be out of their ‘price range’ following his success at the World Cup

Jesse Marsch has revealed just how close Leeds came to signing the World Cup’s breakout star, Cody Gakpo, this summer. 

Leeds chased Gakpo for much of the summer – with reports at the time all pointing towards a likely conclusion of the deal with the Dutchman joining Marsch at Elland Road. 

However, Gakpo opted to stay with PSV for few months at least and Leeds were forced to search for other targets – signing Wilfried Gnonto from FC Zurich on deadline day. 

Cody Gakpo has been one of the World Cup’s biggest stars in Qatar and things could have been very different for Leeds and Jesse Marsch

Speaking on the Men in Blazers podcast, Marsch revealed just how near they came to landing the Dutchman, who has since gone on to score three goals at this year’s World Cup finals.   

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

‘We were so close to securing a transfer for him in summer. I mean, it was so close and now obviously it’s disappointing for us.

The Dutch forward was '99.9 per cent' on the way to Leeds before he opted to stay at PSV

The Dutch forward was ‘99.9 per cent’ on the way to Leeds before he opted to stay at PSV

‘Our sports director was in Holland and was meeting with the family, had agreed on terms on everything, was talking with PSV. I mean, we were 99.9 per cent [of the way there], so I felt bad for Victor Orta and all the effort that he put into it.

‘I talked to Cody in the process, and I’m happy for him to have had so much success here at the World Cup and I think show everybody how good he is.’

The reason for Gakpo remaining with PSV could have something to do with current Dutch coach Louis van Gaal encouraging his Holland-based players to remain in the country this summer ahead of the World Cup. 

‘Many players have called me, that is indeed true,’ said Van Gaal, revealing some truth behind the rumours. 

 ‘I have always ended the conversations with the words: this is advice, you should always stay close to yourself and make the choice yourself. The storm is now over and I must say that it has been pleasing to me.’

Ryan Gravenberch, who left Ajax for Bayern Munich, did not make Van Gaal’s squad for Qatar.  

Gakpo himself revealed in October that he was close to joining Leeds or Southampton after his seemingly preferred move to Manchester United fell through.

Marsch admitted that Gakpo was now out of the price range of Leeds as they pursue other targets

Marsch admitted that Gakpo was now out of the price range of Leeds as they pursue other targets

He told The Times: ‘I was close to leaving, I spoke to Erik ten Hag a few times at Manchester United.

‘In the end the deal didn’t go through, which was a shame, for me and my development, and because Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world, but also for PSV, because to transfer a player to Manchester United is a good thing for the club.

‘It ended about a week before the end of the transfer window and in that week I had to decide if I would go to Leeds or Southampton. In the end I stayed, but it was a stressful period.’

The Dutchman is now the envy of countless clubs around Europe, with PSV thankful for their decision to hold onto him.  

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