Liverpool youngster Sepp van den Berg has joined Preston North End on loan until the end of the season.
The 19-year-old embarked on his temporary spell as part of the Reds’ deal to bring Ben Davies to Anfield on deadline day.
With Davies arriving to bulk up the first team defensive department, it will likely signal Rhys Williams’ return to the academy setup to continue his development at a more appropriate pace. The Englishman will take van den Berg’s space in the u23 side.
The Dutchman joined the Reds back in 2019 from Eredivisie side PEC Zwolle for just £1.3 million, which could rise to £4.4 million. Many fans at the time were speculating he could be the long-term successor to the highly successful Virgil van Dijk.
Ever since his introduction into the Liverpool squad, van den Berg has featured in a senior game only four times. A substitute’s appearance at MK Dons in the EFL cup in 2019/20 was followed by two more starts in the same competition, while he also played the full game in the FA Cup Fourth Round replay against Shrewsbury Town.
Instead, the Dutchman has been a regular in the Liverpool u23 side, partnering fellow promising youngster Billy Koumetio for the majority of this season.Embed from Getty Images
Upon his arrival in England, van den Berg’s signing was praised heavily by baseball legend Billy Beane, with the value for money a clear positive in his eyes.
“We’ll see how it turns out, but there was a lot of evidence that it was an incredibly shrewd, cost-effective risk to take on a guy that you had data on at a very young age,” said Beane upon van den Berg’s arrival at Anfield.
This will be the young defenders first taste of regular first team football in England, something that could make or break his career.
Should van den Berg succeed in the Championship, it is likely he will return there next season with a team fighting for promotion. However, should he fail to produce the performances the Lancashire side will be expecting, the youngster could face a similar situation to that of fellow academy alum Ben Woodburn.
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