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PREMIER LEAGUE

Sepp van den Berg signing "win-win" for Liverpool, says Jaap Stam

Van den Berg signing win-win for Liverpool - Stam

Getty Images

Jaap Stam insisted Liverpool have signed a "very talented" player in Sepp van den Berg, having managed the Dutch youngster last season.

Liverpool have nothing to lose from signing teenage Dutch defender Sepp van den Berg, according to his former boss Jaap Stam. Van den Berg joined Liverpool from Eredivisie side PEC Zwolle on Thursday in a reported €1.5million deal that could rise by a further €3.5m with add-ons.

Great signing

The 17-year-old has featured 22 times in the top tier of Dutch football and is rumoured to have been courted by clubs across Europe, including Bayern Munich, Ajax and PSV. And Stam, a former international defender himself who managed Van den Berg during his half-season in charge of Zwolle in 2018-19, insisted Liverpool are signing a player with plenty of potential.

"Sepp is a very talented player, we've said that many times at PEC Zwolle," Stam told a news conference on Sunday.  "We all know how this world works, so it's inevitable that a player makes a transfer at a certain point in his career. We know that English and Spanish clubs scout all over the world, but especially in the Netherlands for talented Dutch defenders, because they're known to be good with their feet. Those clubs usually have enough money lying around to take a risk and sign a few of them and see if it pays off in the long run. If it works out, great. If it doesn't, they'll probably sell them for more money than before. In the end it's up to the clubs, but I wish Sepp all the best and I hope he'll turn out to be a big success story at Liverpool."

Other priorities

Stam has taken over as Feyenoord head coach ahead of the new season, but he did not try to bring Van den Berg across from Zwolle. "We haven't talked about that," he said when asked if the in-demand defender was one of his transfer targets.  "Looking back at the situation we were in at PEC Zwolle, we were battling against relegation. In those cases, you have to make sure that the available players are of the sufficient level to perform week in week out. In those cases, you don't have time to educate and to develop, which sometimes could hurt the development of youth players. But to be very clear about the subject - if the youth players show they are ready, they get a shot."