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Liverpool star snubbed three Premier League clubs as 'strange' reason revealed

When Liverpool moved for Cody Gakpo in December 2022, it was something of a surprise.

The Netherlands international might have enjoyed a successful mid-season World Cup, scoring three goals as his nation suffered a quarter-final exit to eventual winners Argentina, but, despite links starting to emerge it was still relatively unexpected for the Reds to move for the PSV Eindhoven left-winger.

They had not been in the conversation when the forward nearly moved to the Premier League the previous summer, after all. Manchester United had previously looked to be favourites to sign him, only for the Red Devils to be left unable to proceed with an offer for the Dutchman to profit and sustainability rules.

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As a result, Gakpo was left with the option of moving to Southampton or Leeds United in the summer of 2022 as he still eyed up a move to the Premier League. Yet he would end up staying put at PSV.

And he’s now revealed how a hat-trick against scored FC Volendam in what would have been his final claim for the Eredivisie club bizarrely ended up deciding his future.

“You have a difficult decision to make, and then you go to prayer to talk to God and ask for wisdom,” he told ESPN. “I got that.

“People might think I'm strange. I could go to Southampton, Leeds came into the race and PSV wanted me to stay. I presented the three options I had to God.

“If I scored once, I would go to Southampton. If I scored twice I would go to Leeds and if I scored three I would stay at PSV.

Gakpo would score twice before half-time as PSV raced into a 3-1 lead at the break, before completing his hat-trick in a 7-1 win after just 51 minutes. Yet with the strike taking a big deflection off defender Damon Mirani, he had to wait to be credited with the decisive strike that would ultimately decide his future.

Withdrawn in the 63rd minute, Gakpo was none the wiser as to whether he would be moving to Leeds United or staying at PSV as a result.

"I was sitting next to one of my close friends [on the bench] Jordan Teze," Gakpo says. "He said: 'It's in God's hands if he decides it's an own goal or not.' And at the end, it was [given as] my goal, so then it was three. I couldn't have got a clearer sign."

The decision to stay put that summer ultimately paid off for Gakpo, as Liverpool snapped him up for an initial £35m just four months later. While leaving PSV was a hard decision to make, the forward believes it was the right time to move on.

"My brother, who was also my agent, and [my] other agent called me and said there was interest from Liverpool, pretty serious, but I was really calm," he recalled. "I'd learned [that] from the previous window. So we just looked at the situation really calmly: if it happens, it happens, if it's not happening, yeah, it's not happening.

“But it went quickly. We came back 23, 24 or 25 [of December]; 25th was personal terms agreed; 26th clubs agreed; 27th, I was there [in Liverpool]. So, it went really fast.

"It was very hard [to leave PSV]. I played there in total, I think with academy and everything together, 17 or so years; lots of friends, lots of good people. But yeah, I think it was just time.

“That was where I could feel God's presence as well because it was just in his hands, and it happened so quick. I was so calm, and I was not really stressed about those things. So that was for me also a sign like it's a God move."