Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool make Holland Under-19 defender Van Den Berg their first summer signing

The Reds have paid a fee understood to be worth an initial £1.3million.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has made his first signing of the summer (Mike Egerton/PA)
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has made his first signing of the summer (Mike Egerton/PA)

Liverpool have reached an agreement to sign Holland Under-19 defender Sepp Van Den Berg from PEC Zwolle.

The Champions League winners have announced the highly-rated 17-year-old will join them in July after finalising a deal – subject to international clearance – understood to be worth an initial £1.3million.

Van den Berg, who made 15 appearances for the Eredivisie side last season, has agreed a “long-term contract” at Anfield and will become Jurgen Klopp’s first signing of the summer.

Van Den Berg told the Premier League club’s website, www.liverpoolfc.com: “It’s just an amazing feeling. It is, for me, the biggest club in the world and it’s a dream come true. I am really excited.

“I’ve seen what kind of players from the academy grew into the first team here. It is unbelievable, especially when this kind of big club does that.

“Of course, the trainer (Klopp) is a great guy and one of the reasons they are successful – and also one of the reasons I came here. I think this is the best place for me to grow and hopefully play a lot of games here.”

Van Den Berg, who has four under-19 caps, will join the first-team squad but is expected to be eased into action with games in the academy side.

Liverpool have also announced that 18-year-old midfielder Abdi Sharif has signed his first professional contract with the club.

Sharif was born in Somalia but raised in Toxteth and has been training with the club since the age of six.

He was a member of the side that won the FA Youth Cup last season, scoring a penalty in the shoot-out, and has also played in the Under-23s team.

Liverpool later completed the sale of youth-team player Rafael Camacho to Sporting in Portugal for £5million.

The 19-year-old, who made his first-team debut last season with substitute appearances in the FA Cup at Wolves and at home to Crystal Palace, had turned down the offer of a new contract.

It is, for me, the biggest club in the world and it’s a dream come true Sepp Van Den Berg

He has secured a return to his homeland but as part of the move Liverpool negotiated £2million-worth of add-ons, dependent on league and European success, with a 20 per-cent sell-on clause and a buy-back option.

PA understands Camacho, who joined on a free transfer from Manchester City in 2015 despite also having a trial at Manchester United, had verbally agreed to his new contract in January on the proviso he could be loaned out but a temporary move never materialised.

Having refused to speak to Wolves, Schalke and AC Milan because of concerns over game time, Liverpool then wanted to loan him out this season with the risk of losing the player for £270,000 compensation next summer.

Camacho, however, preferred a permanent move to Sporting, who had agreed a failed loan deal in January, and so the club reluctantly agreed to the sale with the view that he would realise more long-term value playing in Lisbon.

PA

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