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Cody Gakpo of PSV Eindhoven during the UEFA Europa League Group A match between PSV Eindhoven and Arsenal FC at Phillips Stadium on October 27, 2022 in Eindhoven, Netherlands. ANP OLAF KRAAK Credit: ANP/Alamy Live News

How referee’s decision led Cody Gakpo to turn down 2 Premier League offers

Before Cody Gakpo joined Liverpool from PSV Eindhoven in a £37 million deal, the striker had weighed up offers from Southampton and Leeds in unusual fashion.

Gakpo is currently on Netherlands duty ahead of Euro 2024, and before joining up with the squad he spoke with journalists including ESPN‘s Tom Hamilton.

During their conversation, Hamilton asked the Dutchman about two offers that were presented to him ahead of deadline day in 2022.

PSV were prepared to sell their captain at the end of the summer transfer window, with Southampton and Leeds both pursuing a deal worth around £25 million.

Gakpo’s club hosted FC Volendam in the Eredivisie on August 31 – the day before the deadline – and he recalled an unusual way of deciding which club to join.

“It was very hectic, the whole month, a lot of things on my mind and everything. You are focused, but not really that focused,” he explained.

“So it was pretty difficult from a mental point of view.

“Then, in the end, I just put it all in God’s hands. I just asked for a sign: if I only scored once, I go to Southampton; twice, to Leeds; and three times, I stay.

“I scored twice and the [third] one was like, ‘own goal, not own goal?’, and then I got subbed.

“I was sitting next to Jordan Teze, one of my close friends still, and we spoke about the situation. He knew that I did that already, so he said ‘now it’s really in God’s hands, if he decides if it’s an own goal or not’.

“In the end, it was my goal, so then it was three. I could not have got a more clear sign.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 5, 2024: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-2. (Photo by Ryan Brown/Propaganda)

Gakpo’s first two goals were obvious, but his third deflected in via Volendam captain Damon Mirani, with the decision over who would be awarded the goal left to the officials.

As he explained, it was decided that the goal was Gakpo’s, which saw proposed moves to the Premier League declined in favour of staying in Eindhoven.

READ: Jurgen Klopp’s big Cody Gakpo mistake could be a gift for Arne Slot

He had already seen a switch to Man United fall apart due to Financial Fair Play, per ESPN NL, and now both Southampton and Leeds were rejected.

It was not long before he made the transfer to England, of course, as Liverpool agreed terms with PSV at the end of 2022.

Were it not for the Eredivisie’s Dubious Goals Panel, though, it could have been a much different journey for Gakpo.