Preston manager Ryan Lowe has admitted he is hoping to secure Sepp van den Berg‘s services for another season, with the club already in talks with Liverpool.
Van den Berg is nearing the end of his second spell with North End, having spent the second half of last term at Deepdale before agreeing a season-loan switch this time around.
The Dutchman has gone from strength to strength in the Championship, and after 57 appearances for Preston so far, he now stands as a viable senior centre-back.
If Lowe were to have his way, however, the 20-year-old would return to Preston for a third loan, telling LancsLive of his hopes for Van den Berg, along with Leicester‘s Daniel Iversen and Aston Villa‘s Cameron Archer.
“Ultimately, I would’ve thought that, because of the way they’ve been with us, if they were available again, we’d take them in a heartbeat,” he explained.
“So would other clubs probably, but the advantage we would have is them having been here before and how we go about our business.
“If that becomes available, for them to go on loan, I’d like to think we’d be No. 1 priority.”
On Van den Berg, Lowe said: “With Sepp, Liverpool were in here the other day for a full day, watching what we do and how we go about it.
“We’re in contact with them but again, it’s down to Sepp and what he wants to do.”
The player himself has already cast doubt over the chances of an extended stay at Preston, telling LancsLive in February: “You never know, but I reckon after this season that it, unfortunately, has to come to an end.”
Much will depend on Liverpool’s plans, and the options available to Van den Berg were he to move on from Anfield, though there is a chance a spot opens up in Jurgen Klopp‘s squad.
Joe Gomez will enter the final two years of his contract this summer, and having played only 14 times so far this season, it is not out of the realms of possibility that he would push for an exit.
If that is the case, Van den Berg could represent a ready-made replacement, with Lowe taking a realistic approach to the situation with his three Premier League loanees.
“We definitely have to plan for the future without them until told otherwise,” he concluded, “because they aren’t our players.”