2K0PA8H Gelsenkirchen, Germany. 10th Sep, 2022. Soccer: Bundesliga, FC Schalke 04 - VfL Bochum, Matchday 6, Veltins Arena: Schalke's Sepp van den Berg gives instructions. Credit: David Inderlied/dpa - IMPORTANT NOTE: In accordance with the requirements of the DFL Deutsche FuBball Liga and the DFB Deutscher FuBball-Bund, it is prohibited to use or have used photographs taken in the stadium and/or of the match in the form of sequence pictures and/or video-like photo series./dpa/Alamy Live News

Schalke looking to extend Sepp van den Berg loan – defender “open to stay”

Schalke are keen to extend the loan of Sepp van den Berg after making an impression at the club despite an injury-hit season.

The Reds defender joined the Bundesliga side on a 12-month deal last summer after a successful spell at Preston in the previous campaign.

The 21-year-old has missed five months of the season with an ankle injury, but it appears that hasn’t discouraged Schalke from looking to keep Van den Berg at the club beyond the summer.

Reports by WAZ have indicated that the German side wish to extend the centre-back’s loan stint, but that a permanent deal is not currently considered to be an option due to the club’s financial issues.

Sepp injury

Schalke’s head of licensing Gerald Asamoah has praised the quality of Van den Berg and suggested that the club are hoping to “persuade” him to remain in Germany next season.

“We know what we have in Sepp, and Sepp knows what he has in Schalke 04,” explained Asamoah.

“Ultimately we have to see how the situation is after the season. We all hope to stay in. Then maybe there’s a chance to persuade Sepp to stay.”

Van den Berg has also had his say regarding his own future, admitting that he is “open” to spending another year at Schalke and hinting that another loan could be possible.

“In the two games against Bremen and Mainz alone I gained great experience. But the Bundesliga is a great opportunity for me,” said the Dutchman.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, July 31, 2022: Liverpool's Sepp van den Berg during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and RC Strasbourg Alsace at Anfield. Strasbourg won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“If Schalke want to keep me, I’m definitely open to staying.”

The defender’s long-term future remains unclear at this stage, but Schalke’s determination to keep Van den Berg at the club next season demonstrates the high regard in which he is held.

The youngster joined Liverpool from PEC Zwolle in the summer of 2019 but has made only four senior appearances for the club in a spell which has included two loan moves.

He joined Preston midway through the 2020/21 campaign and stayed at Deepdale for a season and a half before making his move to the Bundesliga back in August.

Liverpool may well be of the mind to keep him, though, as next season he would count as a ‘homegrown’ player for the Reds.