Premier League • England

Liverpool ace reveals staggering reason he snubbed two English rivals before £35m Reds move

Cody Gakpo and Alexis Mac Allister, Liverpool

A Liverpool star has spoken about his past transfer links

Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has detailed the surprise reason he rejected two other English clubs before landing at Anfield in January 2023.

Gakpo enjoyed a fantastic spell at boyhood club PSV, notching 55 goals and 50 assists in 159 matches for the Dutch giants. The left winger established himself as one of the best attackers in the Netherlands, and the fact he could play at centre-forward made him even more attractive to potential suitors abroad.

During the 2021-22 season, Gakpo managed a hugely impressive 21 goals and 15 assists in 47 appearances and even captained PSV in a host of games, despite being one of the younger members of their squad.

Following those exploits, a race broke out to sign the Dutchman involving Leeds United, Southampton and even Manchester United.

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In August 2022, Victor Orta – then Leeds’ director of football – flew to Eindhoven in an attempt to win the race for Gakpo.

But Gakpo went on to snub Orta and Leeds’ advances in a sensational twist, forcing the club chief to return to England empty-handed.

In a new interview, Gakpo has now explained the shock circumstances which saw him reject concrete offers from Leeds and Southampton.

“You have a difficult decision to make,” he admitted. “And then you go to prayer to talk to God and ask for wisdom. I got that. I presented the three options I had to God.

Liverpool latest: Cody Gakpo discusses transfer decision

“People might think I’m strange. I could go to Southampton, Leeds came into the race and PSV wanted me to stay. 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 netted a hat-trick in his next match, helping PSV thrash FC Volendam 7-1. He resultantly opted to stay in his home country for a few more months, and the decision paid off as Liverpool came calling that winter.

The 25-year-old went on to join Liverpool for £35m and has so far managed 23 goals and nine assists in 79 outings, helping the Reds win one League Cup under Jurgen Klopp.

Klopp has now been replaced by Gakpo’s Dutch compatriot Arne Slot. When asked about the ex-Feyenoord boss recently, Gakpo said: “I don’t know the ins and outs of his working method yet.

“I played against him a few times with PSV, but I have never really spoken to him. What I know is that Slot wants to put a lot of pressure on his teams and play careful football on the ball.

“Certainly, that high pressure was also a characteristic of Klopp. So, we are used to that.

“The club has made a well-considered choice. I can’t say much else about it yet.”

Gakpo also spoke about his improvement since arriving in England. “Especially physically. Conditional content, muscle mass, pace, intensity,” he added.

“I’m not really into the data, but I saw that there were big differences compared to my period at PSV. Especially in the number of high intensity runs. That physical development is now helping also to appear fit for the Dutch team.”

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