Liverpool journalist makes huge claim about contract clause and reveals £20m price tag

Many hoped Van den Berg would become a star at Liverpool but he has struggled to break through into the first team.Many hoped Van den Berg would become a star at Liverpool but he has struggled to break through into the first team.
Many hoped Van den Berg would become a star at Liverpool but he has struggled to break through into the first team. | Getty Images
The Athletic writer has made a huge claim about the Liverpool defender.

Liverpool fans have received an update on the future of Sepp van den Berg just a week after it was claimed that Mainz had priority over signing him this summer.

The 22-year-old has just completed a successful loan spell in the Bundesliga for the German club, becoming a key figure with 31 starts in 33 league appearances. His performances helped to carry them away from relegation having spent the majority of the season in the bottom three.

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Last week we reported that Mainz had priority over signing him this summer; German outlet Kicker claimed Mainz intend to activate the buy clause and will take advantage of the first right of refusal. It also said a fee as little as €5m (£4.2m) could be negotiated. However, The Athletic’s James Pearce has quickly refuted such claims.

Writing for the Athletic, he claims Liverpool value the defender at £20m (€25.5m). It’s also said that he is ‘attracting interest from clubs across Europe’. He writes: ‘Mainz are desperate to retain his services but the player’s rise over the course of this season means he’s likely to be out of their reach financially’. Listed among potential destinations are Brentford, Southampton and Wolfsburg and Liverpool are holding firm on their valuation. 

Moreover, it is said no decision will be made on his future until he’s been assessed by new manager Arne Slot during pre-season. Having made just four senior appearances for the club since arriving from PEC Swolle in 2019, Van den Berg is hoping to finally get a chance having spent years away on loan at the likes of Preston North End, Schalke and Mainz. His figures had been attracting attention from afar as he was ranked as WhoScored’s best u23 central defender in Europe’s top five leagues, boasting an average of 7.02. 

Slot will have to decide whether or not to sanction a sale given that they already have four senior centre-backs after Jarell Quansah’s emergence this season. Virgil van Dijk is now 32 and his successor will eventually need to be found while there are some question marks over Ibrahim Konate’s shaky end of season form. Plus, Joe Gomez played the majority of his games at full-back rather than central defence which leaves his position up for debate next season.

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