Liverpool have officially announced their first signing of the 2019 summer transfer window today, signing 17-year-old centre half Sepp van den Berg from PEC Zwolle for an initial £1.3M fee that could rise for £4.4M with add-ons.
“It’s just amazing,” said the young defender, who reportedly turned down Ajax and Bayern Munich to sign on with Liverpool this week. “It is, for me, the biggest club in the world and it’s a dream come true. I am really excited.”
While his age and the low fee suggest that Van den Berg is likely a name for the future, a player who could spend the season partnering fellow Dutch youth international Ki-Jana Hoever with the U23s, that may not be the case.
According to ESPN’s Melissa Reddy, the club believe he isn’t far from being a viable first team option—and the club’s announcement of his signing, with a photoshoot and interview, seems to hint at more than a youth player.
Still, with Virgil van Dijk, Joël Matip, Joe Gomez, and Dejan Lovren—and maybe Hoever as well—ahead of him on the depth chart, the highly promising youngster will not be rushed into the action before he’s ready for it.
“Longer-term, I hope I can play as much as possible here for the club,” he added. “Short-term, [my target is] to be with the first team, develop myself, grow and see how it goes. Long-term, I really want to be a legend here.”
"I’ve seen what kind of players from the Academy grew into the first team here. It is unbelievable, especially when this kind of big club does that." ✊ pic.twitter.com/Uep7fwEtTM— Liverpool FC (@LFC) June 27, 2019