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Liverpool 'enters talks' to sell first player under Arne Slot in transfer window

Sepp van den Berg impressed on loan at Jürgen Klopp's former club Mainz last season
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Neil Baynes/Getty Images)


Liverpool has entered talks with Mainz over a permanent deal for Sepp van den Berg. It means the Dutch defender could become the first player sold since the departure of Jurgen Klopp and start of the Arne Slot era at Anfield.

Van den Berg recently went public with his desire to leave Liverpool permanently. Since joining the club from PEC Zwolle for an initial fee of £1.3m ($1.65m) potentially rising to £4.4m ($5.6m) in the summer of 2019, the youngster has spent the majority of his time out on loan.

After spells at Preston North End and Schalke, he spent his third straight season elsewhere and caught the eye for Mainz in the Bundesliga last season. Now, he's eyeing a permanent move to the German top division and Mainz is keen to keep him around.

According to The Athletic, Mainz has made contact with Liverpool and talks have begun. However, the clubs remain far apart on their valuations.

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Liverpool is reported to want around $25.5m (£20m) for the Dutch defender. Mainz wants to keep him but considers that price out of its range, with Liverpool standing firm on its asking price.

The asking price was publicly questioned by Van den Berg in a sensational interview explaining why he wants to leave in the Dutch press last week. He will remain with Liverpool and be part of Slot's first pre-season squad if an acceptable offer is not received.

Van den Berg told De Telegraaf earlier this month: "I knew that I couldn't get from PEC Zwolle [straight] to Liverpool's first team. 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.

"Just the whole [first] season. On the one hand, that was great. Yes, how does that work, you're 17, 18 years old, you're central to the defence in training against the starting XI, you have to build up and then Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah come running towards you. It was tough, but I enjoyed it. But in all honesty, I wasn't looked after anymore.

"I also felt 'ready' [in 2021]. I had a good conversation with the management. He said he had received good reports. I understood that I wasn't going to play Van Dijk, Matip or Konate out [the team]. But I thought I could be right behind it. When I didn't get a chance again, I said: 'Figure it out, I want to leave.'

"You (Liverpool) didn't exude confidence in me all this time, but you do want to hinder my future. 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."