As the summer transfer window wound down, 20-year-old Liverpool centre half Sepp van den Berg completed a loan move to Schalke, joining the Bundesliga club on a season-long loan. Schalke, though, weren’t the likely landing spot for much of the window.
Instead, his most likely destination appeared to be Blackburn Rovers in the Championship. At one point, the Dutch defender even underwent a medical for them ahead of an expected loan departure—but in the end, Liverpool’s injuries delayed the deal’s completion.
“We had the moving pieces with Sepp van den Berg and I think it was open knowledge that he was here,” Blackburn director of football Gregg Broughton told the club’s official website. “He did his medical, he did his interviews and photographs with the media team.
“There was then an injury crisis at Liverpool, they weren’t prepared to sign that off despite the fact everything was done at our end. As that came towards the end, Liverpool won 9-0 at home and we got the call to say that the deal could happen quite quickly.”
Despite that, the delay in the deal’s completion gave time for moves elsewhere to be completed, with Schalke selling centre half Malick Thiaw to Milan. In need of a replacement, the Germans then turned to Liverpool and Van den Berg late in the summer window.
“Schalke made a player sale to AC Milan overnight and things moved again [and] we weren’t prepared to wait for Sepp to make his mind up,” Broughton added—though in the player’s telling of it, once Schalke came in that was always going to be his destination.