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 start discussions for new Sepp van den Berg loan – “We are talking to him”

Sepp van den Berg made an impression at Schalke despite missing five months of action due to an ankle injury, with the German club eager to extend his loan.

The 21-year-old set off to Germany with the best of intentions after a standout spell with Preston the season prior, but he made just nine appearances for Schalke in 2022/23.

A serious ankle injury kept him sidelined for five months before he returned for the final five matches of the Bundesliga campaign but was unable to prevent Schalke’s relegation.

Previous reports back in May made it known that there was a desire to extend his loan spell into a second season, which has now been corroborated by Schalke’s sporting director Andre Hechelmann.

“We are talking to him and his advisor,” Hechelmann told Voetbal International, who was asked about Van den Berg after the defender penned a thank you message to the club and the fans.

There was no hint from the Dutchman in his post that he would return for their bid of promotion back to the topf light next season, his message was seen “more as a thank you” than a farewell in Schalke’s eye.

The report from Voetbal says the 21-year-old has “not said ‘no’ in advance” to returning to the Veltins-Arena next season, which follows on from Van den Berg confirming he was “definitely open to staying.”

Liverpool will have their say on the matter, though they will be aware that a permanent deal will be off the table due to Schalke’s current financial issues, compounded by their relegation.

Van den Berg is contracted at Anfield until 2026 and is now eligible to be classified as a ‘homegrown‘ player, which the Reds could look to make the most of by naming him as their fifth-choice centre-back.

There will be plenty to weigh up, including Van den Berg’s development as he will not get the regular minutes at Anfield as he could on loan and that Schalke are clearly eager to give him.