Premier League • England

Liverpool make crucial Sepp van den Berg decision before announcing defender’s exit to Bundesliga

Sepp van den Berg

Liverpool have offloaded Sepp van den Berg on loan to Schalke – but not before renewing the defender’s contract for the long-term.

Van den Berg spent last season on loan with Preston North End, gaining crucial experience in the Championship. It had recently seemed like he would drop back to the second tier for the current campaign with Blackburn Rovers.

However, that arrangement recently fell through, which prompted Schalke to enter the running. The returning Bundesliga outfit have now been able to confirm Van den Berg’s arrival.

The centre-back will spend the 2022-23 season with Schalke in the German top tier. However, he will not be staying with them any longer beyond then.

Indeed, there is no option to buy in Van den Berg’s deal because he has signed a long-term contract extension with Liverpool first. His previous deal was due to expire in 2024, although the length of the new terms are not confirmed.

The 20-year-old will be hoping to use the upcoming spell with Schalke to his advantage in order to return to Liverpool as an even more promising player.

He told Schalke’s official website: “I was delighted when I heard that a club with such a rich tradition like Schalke was interested in me.

“My final, decisive factor was the talks I had with [sporting director] Rouven Schroder and [head coach] Frank Kramer. They really excited me with the suggestions they had for the path I could take here. That is what really convinced me.”

Schalke officials welcome Sepp van den Berg to Bundesliga

Schroder added: “We are very happy that Sepp has decided to join us despite interest from other clubs. In Sepp, we have gained a fast, tough and strong central defender who will liven up the competition in the squad, just as we had planned following Malick Thiaw’s departure [to AC Milan].

“We’re convinced that he has the potential to fill that current hole and he will compete with that exact same ambition.”

Kramer opined: “Sepp is a player who not only defends attentively, but can also get involved in the build-up play. This combination of physicality and technique makes him an interesting player for the centre of our defence.

“I am very pleased to have him in our team.”

Van den Berg could make his Schalke debut on Saturday, when they take on Stuttgart in a Bundesliga match. They are currently 16th in the formative table after failing to win any of their opening four games.

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