Liverpool are about to sign Sepp van den Berg from PEC Zwolle, according to reports. The Reds will hope he’s the last centre-back signing for a while.
Various outlets, including the Telegraph, claim that the Van den Berg is about to join the club for £1.79m. Liverpool have beaten some European heavyweights to the 17-year-old’s signature, too.
Both Bayern Munich and Ajax reportedly wanted him, while Sampdoria tried in January. Van den Berg, who started 10 Eredivisie games last season, is set for the Reds, though, and that could sew up the centre-back positions – with any luck.
Virgil van Dijk will be around for a while, certainly. He’s the best in the world and the central figure of Jurgen Klopp’s side. Perhaps he could leave if he asked to go, but there’s no suggestion that’s going to happen.
The other two ‘senior’ centre-backs are Dejan Lovren (29) and Joel Matip (27). Both could conceivably be around for a good few years, Matip in particular. The hope would be at least until 2022, when Lovren’s contract would likely end (he’s signed until 2021, with an option for another year, reports the Telegraph).
By then, though, the hope is that Joe Gomez (22) has usurped them both. Honestly, he practically did it last season. Gomez was undoubtedly Van Dijk’s preferred partner until injury against Burnley in December interrupted his campaign. Matip stepped in, made the position his own, and established himself.
But in three years time, you’d certainly think that Gomez & Van Dijk has been the first-choice pairing for a little while.
And with Lovren and Matip getting on a bit – if they’re still around – the timing would be right for a Dutch pairing to step up and contend.
One is Van den Berg, the 17-year-old hopeful recruit this summer, and the other is Ki-Jana Hoever, also 17 and already at the club.
Both would be 20 and hopefully flexible enough to have squad roles. Hoever certainly should be, as he can already play at centre-back, right-back, and in midfield.
Thus, by the time Gomez is Van Dijk’s age – and the current number four is getting on – both Hoever and Van den Berg would be where Gomez is now.
If all goes to plan, Liverpool may have the centre-back situation sorted for the next few years with Van den Berg.