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Leeds: Victor Orta scouting Mohammed Kudus and Cody Gakpo

Leeds United are keeping a watchful eye over Mohammed Kudus and Cody Gakpo ahead of the January transfer window.

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Transfer Focus

That’s according to a report by 90min, who claim that Victor Orta sent Leeds scouts to watch PSV Eindhoven’s 2-1 victory over Ajax on Sunday afternoon, with PSV winger Gakpo and Ajax forward Kudus likely to have been the Whites’ focus in the fixture.

Indeed, the Premier League side were heavily linked with a move for both players this summer, with Orta seeing a last-minute swoop for Gakpo fall through, while the director of football was also reported to be keen on a deal for the 22-year-old Ghanaian.

Former Dutch international Keje Molenaar has claimed that any side wanting to secure his services may have to pay in the region of a whopping €70m (£61m) so a deal certainly won’t be easy.

A bigger star boy than Gakpo?

While it is undeniable that Gakpo would make an exceptional addition to Jesse Marsch’s current options in attack – having scored an astonishing 13 goals and registered 17 assists over 23 appearances this season – with the 23-year-old now being reported to be uninterested in a move to Elland Road, it would appear wise for Orta to turn his focus in the transfer market elsewhere.

And, while Kudus is a very different type of player to the Dutchman – being more centrally focused – considering just how impressive the £7.5m-rated talent has been for Ajax this season, the 22-year-old would very much appear to be a fantastic target for the Spaniard to pursue this winter.

Indeed, over his 12 Eredivisie appearances this season – only four of which have come as starts – the £10k-per-week attacker has been in fantastic form, scoring five goals – all but one of which have come when deployed as a centre-forward – as well as taking an average of 1.6 shots, making 0.5 key passes and completing 1.9 dribbles per game.

These returns have seen the “star boy” who “can’t stop scoring” – in the words of Kwame Benaiah – average an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.96, ranking him as Ajax’s 12th-best player in the top flight of Dutch football.

However, it was undoubtedly over the Ghana international’s six Champions League fixtures – in all of which he has been deployed as a striker – that the “really special” talent has most caught the eye this term, bagging four goals and registering two assists, in addition to taking an average of 1.3 shots, making 0.8 key passes and completing 1.8 dribbles per game.

Kudus is evidently some way behind Gakpo’s overall tally for the campaign, but his seriously impressive form against the best the continent has to offer demonstrates he could actually be a bigger ‘star boy’ than the man Leeds have chased for several months.

Indeed, the above returns have seen the 22-year-old average a simply sensational SofaScore match rating of 7.22, ranking him as De Godenzonen’s second-best performer in Europe’s most prestigious club competition.

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Furthermore, with the former Nordsjaelland starlet being able to operate from central and attacking midfield, as well as on the right wing and up top, Kudus’ impressive positional versatility would also appear to make him a fantastic addition to Marsch’s first-team squad at Elland Road this winter.

As such, while it looks as if Gakpo is now out of Leeds’ league, Orta simply must sanction a swoop for another Eredivisie star in Kudus in the January window, as not only does the 22-year-old potentially have a higher ceiling, but he would add some much-needed firepower to the Whites’ attacking arsenal heading into the second half of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign.