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Liverpool player's outburst may have backfired as transfer exit stalls

Mainz' Dutch defender #03 Sepp van den Berg reacts during the German first division Bundesliga football match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Mainz 05 in Leverkusen, western Germany on February 23, 2024.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)


There is no question regarding which has been the biggest appointment Liverpool will make this summer. Replacing Jürgen Klopp after nine hugely successful years is a very tough task.

With the trophies he won and finals he reached with Feyenoord, Arne Slot appears up to the job. But not far behind him in importance is the role of sporting director, which has now been taken up by Richard Hughes.

The position has travelled a rocky road in recent times. After Michael Edwards left the role in 2022, Julian Ward became sporting director but only lasted one season. After a temporary interlude with Jörg Schmadtke, the club will hope for a period of stability under Hughes.

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Liverpool supporters will be most interested in what the Scot does with regards to incoming players. That is not his only remit though. Engineering exits for squad members who the club no longer needs is another, with the aim of raising as much money as possible so that funds can be reinvested into the side.

One man who looks likely to leave the Reds this summer is Sepp van den Berg. His is one of the stranger Liverpool careers of recent times. Despite being on the club’s books for five years, his four appearances for the club occurred in a five-month period during 2019/20. They included a ridiculous 5-5 draw with Arsenal and a 5-0 loss at Aston Villa in which the Club World Cup meant the Reds had to field a youth side.

Van den Berg spent 2023/24 on loan with Mainz in the Bundesliga, and it is to Klopp’s former club that he is likely to move this summer. He recently told De Telegraaf that he has no interest in returning to Liverpool, with Sky Deutschland journalist Florian Plettenberg reporting recently that talks between the clubs have begun.

Sepp van den Berg enjoyed a strong season on loan at Mainz
Sepp van den Berg enjoyed a strong season on loan at Mainz -Credit:(Photo by Silas Schueller/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Yet according to Bild, the deal may have hit a stumbling block. It claims that “everything has come to a standstill” with the transfer because of Liverpool. Comments from a source claim the problem lies at the door of Hughes. “The new sporting boss Richard Hughes has more important issues than a player who was on loan to Germany – I’m not even sure if he even knows Sepp van den Berg,” they said.

With the Dutch defender having two years remaining on his contract, Liverpool need not be in a rush to conclude the deal. This saga could easily rumble on until the final days of the transfer window.

Liverpool.com says: This is probably just a storm in a teacup. It is perfectly natural that sorting out the future of a defender who has barely played for the club is not top of Hughes' priority list in such a crucial summer. The deal will get done, everyone just needs to pause, take a breath and keep their cool, starting with van den Berg.