LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 6, 2022: Liverpool's Sepp van den Berg runs out of the tunnel before the the FA Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

2 Premier League clubs interested in transfer for £20 million Liverpool defender

Liverpool have slapped a £20 million price tag on defender Sepp van den Berg following a successful loan stint at Mainz.

Reports in Germany had suggested that an option to buy, worth as little as €5 million (£4.2m), was present in the season-long deal that took the Dutchman to the Bundesliga.

However, This Is Anfield understands those claims are wide of the mark and that the Reds will be able to set their asking price amid strong interest in Van den Berg.

Brentford and newly-promoted Southampton are among the clubs thought to be keen on signing the 22-year-old.

But it is understood that Liverpool will wait before making a decision on whether he is moved on, with new head coach Arne Slot keen to take a look at his compatriot in pre-season.

Van den Berg made 33 appearances for Mainz last term, scoring three goals.

The former PEC Zwolle centre-back recently opened up on his chances of breaking through at Anfield, insisting he is capable of claiming a place in the squad.

He told Voetbal Nieuws: “I can handle the level at Liverpool, I can compete, but becoming a starter is of course still a difference.

“Virgil and Konate are not small boys. I know it will be difficult.”

2TAXXHR Mainz, Germany . 03rd Dec, 2023. MAINZ, GERMANY - DECEMBER 3: Sepp van den Berg of 1.FSV Mainz 05 in action during the Bundesliga Football match between 1. FSV Mainz 05 and SC Freiburg at MEWA Arena on December 3, 2023 in Mainz, Germany. (Photo by Dan O' Connor/ATPImages) (O'CONNOR Dan/ATP/SPP) Credit: SPP Sport Press Photo. /Alamy Live News

In that February interview, he also admitted: “As a loan player, you go somewhere to play. That’s what I’m doing now. That’s what I’m most happy with.

“If I go back to Liverpool, they may want me to stay. If I notice that a lot of playing time is not available, then I may have to make the choice to leave. For me it is really important that I play.”

Around the same time, Bundesliga commentator Dan O’Hagan told This Is Anfield: “Van den Berg’s development has been enormous.

“These are two seasons now of playing in a major European league. He’s not looked out of place at all. As I say, this season he’s really taken strides forward in his game.”