Liverpool defender Sepp van den Berg has become of interest to four Championship clubs, according to a report revealing the Reds’ current stance.
Van den Berg has been back with Liverpool this summer after an 18-month loan spell with Preston North End. His drop down to the Championship was beneficial for his development, giving him regular gametime.
Indeed, van den Berg left Liverpool with just four appearances for the club behind him. He has returned after 66 appearances for Preston.
Still only 20 years old, the amount of matches he played with Preston will have served him well for the future. Now, though, Liverpool need to decide what his best next step would be.
The defender confirmed last month he had been talking with Jurgen Klopp about how the loan went. He would have to wait, though, to find out what the future would hold.
Now, he is somewhat closer to knowing. According to the Daily Mail, van den Berg has attracted four more Championship clubs – half of whom were in the Premier League last season.
The interested parties are Burnley, Watford, Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield United. Any of them could be expected to challenge near the play-off places this season.
Despite previous claims that Liverpool would look to place van den Berg in the Premier League next, it could be a good step up for the Dutchman, who was part of a Preston side that finished 13th in the Championship in each of the past two seasons.
Yet for now, it seems Liverpool could deny him the opportunity. They currently have concerns in van den Berg’s position due to injuries to Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip.
Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez should therefore be the starting partnership for now. But behind them, it will be important for Klopp to have depth options.
For that reason, players like van den Berg and Nat Phillips – who are attracting interest from clubs who would presumably use them more – are being held back for the time being.
Liverpool will be hoping to recover some of their senior options in order to avoid a repeat of the 2020-21 season, when they had to utilise some players out of position to cover for the absences of van Dijk, Gomez and Matip.
In turn, it could free up the likes of van den Berg and Phillips to move on.
Leading contenders for Sepp van den Berg named
Interestingly, The Sun have provided an update with where van den Berg is likeliest to land. They claim Blackburn are leading the race to take him on loan.
Furthermore, they have uncovered that Liverpool are asking for financial penalty clauses if van den Berg does not receive a significant proportion of gametime.
Hence, they are monitoring his development closely and will ensure he gets the right move when they are comfortable with him leaving.
Blackburn are ready to give van den Berg the gametime that Liverpool want from him. Therefore, they are strong contenders to give him a different Lancashire loan.
The Sun confirm Burnley are another rival for his signature. They also name South Coast outfit Bournemouth as a club who could take him to the Premier League, taking his tally of suitors to five.
Unusual clause a clever idea by Liverpool
Van den Berg’s contract with Liverpool only has two years remaining on it. But the Reds are still working with his long-term aspirations in mind, so it seems.
The inclusion of a clause over his playing time is a rather unprecedented one. They would hope it paid off in giving them the guarantees they are seeking for van den Berg.
If he ends up not playing much, Liverpool would be financially compensated. Hence, if they were to sell him after with a lower market value, some of the shortfall would be covered.
The one party who might not benefit would be van den Berg himself. He would not be able to get the time back that he missed out on.
But The Sun believe Blackburn have big plans for the former PEC Zwolle youngster if they are to take him to Ewood Park. Hence, the clever clause Liverpool want to insert may be just a method of protecting themselves.
It could be a big season ahead for van den Berg, even if he may have to wait a couple of weeks before he can kick on.