Liverpool believe they can fix the doubts that PEC Zwolle have over Sepp van den Berg. The 17-year-old will reportedly join the Reds.
The Telegraph, among various other outlets, reported on Tuesday that Liverpool had ‘won the race’ to sign the teenager.
Bayern Munich and Ajax both had strong interest but the Reds secured a £1.79m deal ahead of them.
Signing a highly-rated teenager with 10 Eredivisie appearances already seems like a no-brainer. But as it turns out, there are serious doubts over Van den Berg.
Johan Inan, a local journalist who covers PEC, told the Liverpool Echo about the teenagers situation.
“Jaap Stam came in as head coach in December and in January he put Sepp in the reserve team for a week just to trigger him to work harder, be more aggressive and give it his all,” he told the Echo.
“Stam talked several times with him, worked after training sessions one-on-one with Sepp, but the truth is that the teacher saw his student making just a little improvement.
“Jaap sees his talent, but has doubts whether Sepp is eager enough to pick things up.”
An absence of eagerness is usually a very bad sign for a young player. If they’re not eager to improve now, when will they? How will they be in five, ten years?
And so Liverpool are backing themselves here. They believe they can find the best in Van den Berg in ways that Stam and PEC couldn’t.
We’ve seen the remarkably fast development of Trent Alexander-Arnold, for instance. The 20-year-old has gone from academy star to the elite level in just two seasons.
That’s the kind of progress the Reds will hope to see from their new man – assuming they complete the signing.
Although, there is the other side of the coin: Ben Woodburn. The Welshman broke into the side before Alexander-Arnold but hasn’t really progressed at all.
Still, Liverpool can take solace in the fact that virtually every player who has joined the club has gone on to improve. There really is a sense that if anyone can develop Van den Berg correctly, it’s probably Liverpool – despite any doubts.