Orta flew out to Eindhoven to strike to a deal for Gakpo in the final knockings of the summer transfer window (via The Athletic).
PSV seemed ready to sell, and with Leeds confident that the player would agree to the move, Orta’s plane was ready to take him back to England. However, they ultimately resolved to keep the 23-year-old and the talks duly collapsed.
Speaking to GiveMeSport, Thornton recalled a chat with Orta outside Elland Road on 2 September. He says that Orta expressed confidence about the prospects of reviving negotiations with PSV.
The journalist said of the Leeds chief regarding a move for Gakpo: “I had a chat with him in the early hours of the next morning after the deadline day as he was leaving Elland Road.
“He was sort of saying that they’ve still got a good relationship with PSV and that they were still looking at that one.”
Leeds have to be wary of the effect of the World Cup.
Gakpo has broken into the Netherlands’ starting line-up ahead of the tournament, scoring twice and providing one assist in his last three matches.
Louis van Gaal’s side are eighth in the FIFA rankings and have put together an unbeaten run of 14 matches. If they make a deep run in Qatar, and Gakpo stars at the tournament, then his price tag may climb further, and clubs in the Champions League could be alerted.
Indeed, The Athletic’s Carl Anka expects him to look like a ‘superstar’ at the tournament in November. Therefore, if Leeds want to nab the 23-year-old, they may need to get the deal done prior to the winter World Cup.
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