Cody Gakpo profiled as Leeds United eye PSV Eindhoven winger as potential Raphinha replacement

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Leeds United are monitoring PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo as a potential replacement for Raphinha, according to transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano . The Whites have contingency plans in place for the departure of their Brazilian winger – who has courted interest from a host of clubs including Arsenal, Barcelona and Tottenham – and Victor Orta has a list of potential replacements.

Links to wingers and forwards have become more common during the week, with Brugge star Charles De Ketelaere joining the likes of Gonzalo Plata, Adama Traore and Noa Lang on Orta’s famed list.

One other name is Gakpo who, Romano has said, is by no means close to a move to Elland Road. But there are eyes on the 23-year-old who has spent his whole career at his hometown club.

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And with interest intensifying and speculation growing, Leeds Live have all you need to know on PSV’s exciting talent.

Who is Cody Gakpo?

The 23-year-old was born and grew up in Eindhoven, and signed for PSV’s youth squad in 2007. After working through the youth ranks he played for Jong PSV – the main club’s reserve side – before making his first team debut for the senior side in September 2018 where he scored in a 4-0 KNVB Cup win over Excelsior Maassluis.

The Dutchman made his breakthrough in the 2019/2020 season, with seven goals and seven assists in 25 Eredivisie appearances, and continued to develop into one of the most promising talents in the Netherlands and in European competition.

Gakpo was called up to the Dutch national team for the first time for their Euro 2020 campaign, coming on as a 79th-minute substitute in their group game against North Macedonia, and has gone on to earn seven caps – scoring two goals.

During the 2021/2022 campaign Gakpo scored 12 goals and added 13 assists in just 27 games for Eindhoven as they finished second behind Ajax.

Where does Cody Gakpo play?

Gakpo is often deployed on the right-wing, where he can cut onto his stronger right-foot and attack the box directly. But, as is the case with most modern forwards, he can play anywhere across the front-line.

At 6ft 2in, the youngster is more than capable physically to lead a line or play upfront in a two, and possesses the attacking intelligence to lead a line. But his best performances come wide, where the Dutchman can commit defenders and work space to create chances.

What has Cody Gakpo done so far in his career?

In terms of personal statistics, the winger has racked up an impressive 42 goals and 33 assists in 134 appearances for PSV Eindhoven – equal to a goal or an assist every 1.8 matches. Add to that two goals and an assist in just seven Dutch appearances and there is plenty of promise.

In five seasons with the PSV senior team, he has won one Eredivisie title, one KNVB Cup and one Johan Cruyff shield.

The most promising honour, however, came in the 2021/2022 season where the 23-year-old won the league’s Dutch Footballer of the Year, as voted for by fellow players.

Why do Leeds want Cody Gakpo?

As one of the most promising young talents in world football, it’s clear to see why Leeds are interested in the winger. His creative contribution to the team is a massive factor, especially if he is signed as a replacement for Raphinha.

Being able to play across Marsch’s front-line – on either wing or as one of the front two – is another valuable string to the Dutchman’s bow. Gakpo’s physical power and direct dribbling would fit in well with the American coach’s style, as the 23-year-old likes to pick the ball up to feet and commit defenders before lining up a shot or working a chance for a teammate.

Gakpo’s consistency in finding joy at the back post for crosses is also something Leeds badly missed last season, with Raphinha and Jack Harrison often swinging in crosses or drilling balls across the six-yard box with no luck. A lot of Gakpo’s goals come from this exact spot and with someone like Patrick Bamford or Joe Gelhardt also offering options, Leeds may finally have some danger in those positions.

For such a tall and powerful forward, Gakpo’s speed and agility is staggering. The youngster really has all the physical attributes to become a world-class player, and if Leeds can bring him in this summer and mould him to Marsch’s style then he is more than capable of fulfilling Raphinha’s creative burden.

What’s been said about Cody Gakpo?

PSV Eindhoven boss Roger Schmidt spent two seasons in charge between 2020 and 2022, around the time when Gakpo emerged as a potentially world-class talent and future Dutch star. And speaking before the he was included in the Euro 2020 squad, Schmidt admitted that the winger has the potential to become a ‘top international player.

“He has the potential to grow into a very complete player. Physically, mentally and he is reliable,” Schmidt said. “Of course you should always look at the big picture, not just his last game. But if he continues to grow, he can become a top international player.”

And current Netherland boss Louis Van Gaal has also hailed the PSV man. Speaking to NOS , Van Gaal said: “I think Gakpo is a great talent. He scores easily. He has now also shown that in the Dutch national team. He is also a young player, so he still has a lot of experience to gain.”

Gakpo has been of interest to some of the best clubs in the world including Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal. If Leeds are to secure the hot prospect then they will have to act swiftly, but if they can bring the Dutchman to Elland Road, they are likely to have another star on their hands.

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