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Liverpool is right amid $25m message and it can lead Arne Slot to transfer advantage

Sepp van den Berg and Darwin Nunez during a Liverpool training session.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)


Liverpool has plenty of big decisions to make this summer. Who else makes up Arne Slot's backroom team? Does Mohamed Salah get handed a new contract? Is there an elite center-back out there who fits the profile the Reds are looking for?

But there is another situation brewing too that will be important. Sepp van den Berg has made it clear that he wants to leave and play regular football elsewhere after a successful loan spell. And while that doesn't sound like the biggest piece of news, there is a wider picture level of significance that will come into play.

"I knew that I couldn't get from PEC Zwolle [straight] to Liverpool's first team," Van den Berg told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. "I could have been at Liverpool for one or two more years, but I wanted to play with all my might. I demanded to be [loaned] out every time because I felt that I was getting better and better. I also made great strides physically."

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Van den Berg went on to explain that he felt ready to play a part for Liverpool's senior team several times but he was never afforded the chance. He says he thought he should have been, even if he accepts he was never going to oust the likes of Virgil van Dijk in the pecking order at Anfield. Now, he wants a transfer away, but according to The Athletic, a price tag of $25m (£20m/€23m) has been placed on him.

"You (Liverpool) didn't exude confidence in me all this time, but you do want to hinder my future?" he continued, seemingly questioning his own valuation. "I want to keep playing every week and develop myself further. In Germany, I enjoy Dortmund away with 70,000 people, Bayern Munich away against Harry Kane, Stuttgart, Leipzig, Leverkusen... against clubs like that, I am challenged every week."

Ultimately, as good as the numbers might have looked this season for Van den Berg, who was heavily involved for relegation-threatened Mainz in the Bundesliga, he isn't at the level that Liverpool requires. Now 22, he is at the stage of his career where a move away makes sense.

The problem for Liverpool is getting the valuation right. On the one hand, it might be unlikely that a club pays $25m for Van den Berg, as the player himself has appeared to suggest — and you don't want a Nat Phillips scenario where he is kept, loaned out, and eventually that value dwindles further and further.

Equally, though, Liverpool has a reputation for getting good money for its assets. Van den Berg comes off the back of a good season in Germany and there is interest in him. It cannot be seen to let a player go on the cheap, otherwise when another comes to be sold, it will have lost that strong bargaining position. And something close to $25m isn't insane money for a player who has just had a breakout campaign in the German top flight and is still young, especially for someone in his position.

It is tricky to see how Van den Berg could break into the team under Slot next season — he is a couple of years older than Jarell Quansah and has yet to prove himself at the very top level. These comments will not have gone unnoticed either.

But Liverpool is right to put a big price tag on his shoulders. Sticking to it too rigidly might not be advisable but the message is clear: if you want a Liverpool player, you will have to pay. That, in the long term, will be beneficial for the Reds as they move into a new era.