Liverpool are really showcasing their faith in Virgil van Dijk with their apparent transfer policy.
A report on Tuesday morning from the Telegraph suggest that Sepp van den Berg, a 17-year-old centre-back from PEC Zwolle, is set to join.
The reported £1.79m fee suggests Liverpool see a real future for him. If this were a mere ‘hit and hope’ academy signing, you wouldn’t gamble in the millions.
It means that there would be three promising young defenders at the club. Ki-Jan Hoever, who has already played for the first-team, is also 17.
Joe Gomez, five years older than both, is the immediate future. Injury is all that stopped him from being Van Dijk’s partner throughout the season.
And it looks as though this is Van Dijk’s ‘secondary’ role going forward. Not only is he to be the dominant figure in the defence, but hopefully he will help along the young talent.
First, Gomez. Fingers crossed, he’ll be a regular again by the end of the season. He proved to be a wonderful compliment to Van Dijk last year. In the 17 games they started together, Liverpool conceded just 10.
The hope is that he’s past the injuries and can continue his development alongside the Dutchman. It asks quite a bit of Van Dijk, seeing as he is the majority of the experience in the partnership, but one he looks comfortable in.
Funnily enough, the Netherlands are also asking the same of him, partnering him with 19-year-old Matthijs de Ligt.
And then, once Van den Berg and Hoever are old enough to push for squad roles, a senior Van Dijk will hopefully help them, too. Although, obviously, Gomez should be in position to help.
But with Liverpool putting their faith in developing youth in their defence, Van Dijk plays the key role. It could be a fantastic move if the club has got it right.