Sepp van den Berg of Holland U19 (Gerrit van Keulen/VI Images/PA Images)

Liverpool tipped to beat Bayern to 17-year-old defender with 22 Eredivisie apps

Liverpool are among a host of clubs pursuing teenage Dutch centre-back Sepp van den Berg, with the likes of Bayern Munich and Ajax also interested.

The Reds have so far made no inroads with regards to additions to their first-team squad, but are busy fleshing out their academy ranks depleted by at least seven departures.

Defenders Corey Whelan, Conor Masterson and Juanma were among those to leave on the expiry of their contracts, while George Johnston could go despite being offered a new deal and there are question marks over Nat Phillips‘ future.

This would leave Liverpool’s under-23s decidedly short of centre-backs, with Rhys Williams likely to be promoted to join Ki-Jana Hoever.

As the shift towards quality over quantity continues, the club have been tipped to win the race to sign 17-year-old Van den Berg.

Dutch publication De Stentor claim Van den Berg will “probably opt for Liverpool instead of PSV,” in a deal worth between €1.5 million and €2 million.

Along with PSV Eindhoven, Ajax and Bayern have been credited with an interest in 6’2″ defender, who debuted for PEC Zwolle at the beginning of 2018.

Van den Berg has now made 22 appearances in the Eredivisie, the Dutch top flight, with the majority of those coming at centre-back, along with two at right-back.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 28, 2017: Liverpool's first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s pursuit of Van den Berg follows a familiar trend from the club, who seem to have identified the Netherlands as a source of top young talent—likely influenced by Pepijn Lijnders.

Perr Schuurs spent time on trial with the club in 2017, having himself already debuted for Fortuna Sittard in the Dutch second tier, but he opted to join Ajax.

Hoever made the switch from Ajax to Liverpool last summer, and made his first-team bow in the FA Cup in January.

Going the other way, Finnish centre-back Patrik Raitanen signed a four-deal contract with Fortuna last week after leaving the Reds on a free transfer.