Liverpool are set to send Sepp van den Berg on loan to a surprise destination for the duration of the 2022-23 season, according to multiple reports.
Van den Berg returned to Liverpool this summer after the best part of 18 months on loan in the Championship with Preston North End. Since then, his parent club have been reflecting on what the most appropriate next step for him would be.
There have been suggestions of another loan, this time at a higher level. But Van den Berg has had to wait while Liverpool have been suffering from a shortage of defenders.
However, with the end of the transfer window approaching – and Joel Matip nearing a return from injury – it appears the Dutchman is ready to make a move.
According to various sources, such as the Lancashire Telegraph, The Athletic and the Liverpool Echo, he is close to joining German Bundesliga side Schalke for the season.
An agreement is in the pipeline for the 20-year-old, who will be heading abroad instead of sticking with English football. There had been interest from clubs like Burnley and Blackburn Rovers back in the Championship.
However, his immediate future will be in the Bundesliga with Schalke, who won promotion back to the top tier for the current campaign.
Since his contract with Liverpool only has two years remaining on it, it will be interesting to see what the plans are for his future beyond the proposed spell with Schalke.
Sepp van den Berg to develop abroad
Germany would be the third country Van den Berg has played club football in, after the Netherlands and England.
Perhaps it will give him a new platform on which to develop, although it may have been preferable for Liverpool to keep him in England if they have long-term plans for him.
Still, they have been keen to find the option where he will be guaranteed most gametime. Perhaps that is what has led to the Schalke route opening up.
And the chance to compete in one of Europe’s top five leagues is also an appealing factor behind the choice of destination.
After featuring heavily for Preston, Van den Berg will be hoping this move can help him continue his development.