Liverpool are close to agreeing their first signing of the summer transfer window as per reports going on in the media.
According to The Telegraph, the Reds have won the battle to hire the services of Dutch international and PEC Zwolle defender, Sepp van den Berg, for a fee of £1.79million. He is will undergo a medical today.
Similarly, The Daily Mail have reported that the Merseysiders are closing in on their first summer signing after beating off competition from German champions Bayern Munich and Dutch champions Ajax for the 17-year-old center half.
Zwolle finished 13th in the Eredivisie and Van den Berg made 10 league starts for them in the last campaign.
As far as his international career is concerned, so far, he has made four appearances for Oranje’s U-19 team and scored two goals (Transfermarkt).
The Netherlands’ central defense:
The Daily Mail claim that the youngster is considered one of the brightest prospects in Dutch football. The Netherlands already have two top quality central defenders in the form of Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt.
Van Dijk won the PFA Player of the Year prize and helped Liverpool win the UEFA Champions League last term. On the other hand, De Ligt, who won the Dutch Footballer of the Year award in 2018, captained Ajax to their first domestic double in 17 years.
Comparison with Joe Gomez:
As per Sky Sports, Liverpool view Van den Berg as a similar project and at a similar stage of development as Joe Gomez when the England international joined in 2015. Back then, the youngster was 18 and Brendan Rodgers was in charge at Anfield.
Last season, the 22-year-old defender started the campaign as one of the first choice central defenders alongside Van Dijk. Unfortunately, he suffered an ankle injury in December and after that he spent most of his time on the treatment table. In his absence, Matip did well and established his position in the starting XI. Lovren mainly warmed the bench and started just 11 times in the league.
Like Gomez, Van den Berg can also play in the right back role but so far, he has only played in that position on two occasions (Transfermarkt).
Gomez formed a solid partnership with our record signing and in his first 12 league starts last term, Liverpool kept 8 clean sheets. We do remember his brilliant goal-line clearance vs Everton at Anfield, however, in the next game vs Burnley, he limped off injured after just 23 minutes.
The major concern is that his injury record (Transfermarkt) since moving to Liverpool has been very poor. On the other hand, Van den Berg is in the early days of his professional career and let’s hope that he does not turn out to be injury prone.