Sepp van den Berg's strange Liverpool tenure might be coming to a close

  • Sepp van den Berg has blossomed away from Liverpool while on loan
  • The young Dutchman disputes the transfer fee being asked for by Liverpool
  • He spent the last season on loan in Germany for Mainz
Tranmere Rovers v Liverpool U21 - EFL Trophy
Tranmere Rovers v Liverpool U21 - EFL Trophy / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

When Sepp van den Berg came aboard in 2019 at the age of 17 years, Liverpool fans were understandably delighted.

Another promising Dutch centre-back for the Reds- what could go wrong? Well, as it turns out, there have been few opportunities for the now-22-year-old defender to get into the squad.

He's gone out on loans to three different clubs, and only appeared a few times for Liverpool in domestic cups- never in the Premier League or Champions League.

No chances even in a crisis

Perhaps most concerningly, van den Berg was sent out on loan even amidst Liverpool's centre-back injury struggles of 2020-21, with the club opting for the likes of Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams to plug the gaps instead.

Now, with the prime years of his career, he wants to leave Liverpool for good on a permanent move.

He seems to have enjoyed life in the Bundesliga with Mainz, but is frustrated by Liverpool's reported transfer fee demands of around £20 million, claiming that the price tag has "hindered" his ability to advance in his career.

With all of that being said, is the price all that unreasonable? It's hard to say that it is. With his contract valid through 2026, there's plenty of remaining team control for anyone who pulls the trigger to buy van den Berg, an enticing prospect given his young age.

Also rare for van den Berg's age is the amount of experience he brings to the table, even if it's not with Liverpool- he owns more than 3,500 minutes played in the Bundesliga, and nearly 1,400 in the Dutch Eredivisie.

His value has never been higher

Unshockingly, van den Berg's market value has never been higher. As recently as within this past season, his value as per Transfermarkt was just €7 million, but now it's sitting at €12 million.

He's shown more health recently, after missing most of the 2022-23 season with an ankle injury, and it's rarely surprising to see a real-life transfer fee far surpass the numbers set by Transfermarkt, especially if a bidding war materializes.

So has Liverpool "hindered" van den Berg's development? By and large, one would say that the club has done an admirable job of getting him minutes when there's been no opportunity with the senior side.

Early on, that meant junior appearances with Liverpool- he was a teenager when he arrived, after all- but there was plenty of willingness to loan him out to other clubs as needed.

Now, the time has probably come to let go. It's unfortunate that we'll never see van den Berg blossom at Anfield the way many may have expected, but with plenty of solid young options like Ibrahima Konaté and Jarell Quansah already performing well at the senior level, it's hard to imagine him ever getting the shot he wants and deserves to have at some club or another.

While it's understandable for a young player to be frustrated with essentially being held hostage due to a high transfer fee, it's the club's duty to get the best return on investment possible, especially ahead of a summer that should include plenty of moves made to jumpstart the beginning of the Arne Slot/Michael Edwards regime.

Moreover, van den Berg's recent comments show a dissatisfaction with the club that might be hard to overcome; we should all but surely consider his nondescript Liverpool chapter to be closed.