Getty Images

Report: Liverpool signs Dutch teen Sepp van den Berg

Leave a comment

According to a report by Matt Law of The Telegraph, Liverpool has secured the $2 million signing of 17-year-old center-back Sepp van den Berg from Dutch club PEC Zwolle.

The report states that van den Berg is set for a medical with the club on Wednesday and that the Reds beat Bayern Munich and Ajax to the deal. It also states that Sampdoria was unsuccessful with a larger bid of $2.9 million back in January, and Liverpool has pounced with van den Berg set to enter the final year of his contract.

While van den Berg was a member of the PEC Zwolle first team last season, making 15 Eredivisie appearances and racking up 901 league minutes, the report states that van den Berg will take a season to integrate himself to the new squad and surroundings before challenging for a first-team spot with Liverpool. However, according to a report by the BBC, there is “belief” that van den Berg could potentially earn himself a place on the Liverpool first team that currently sports Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, and Dejan Lovren at his position.

It will help van den Berg immensely that Liverpool already sports Dutch international defender van Dijk as part of the roster as well as another current Dutch international in Georginio Wijnaldum. The youngster is currently a starter on the Dutch U-19 squad that narrowly missed out on qualification for the U-19 Euros later this summer, finishing a point behind Spain for the Group 4 lead after a brutal 1-0 loss to Spain back in March on a 90th minute goal.

Van den Berg would constitute Liverpool’s first signing of the summer should he join, with the Reds at this point not expected to be major players for any significantly large deals this summer.

Transfer rumor roundup: USMNT back on the move in England

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Left backs! Get your left backs here!

We’ll learn a bit more about how much a Premier League club values an American asset in the next couple of weeks.

Everton left back Antonee Robinson spent last season on loan at Wigan Athletic, and the Latics are said to have bid to bring the seven-times capped 21-year-old from Merseyside to Greater Manchester.

Robinson is yet to appear for Everton on a senior level, but has made 60 appearances between Bolton Wanderers and Wigan on loan the past two seasons.

[ MORE: USMNT faces T&T for first time since Couva ]

He was third on Wigan in tackles-per-game and second in interceptions-per-game.

Everton has 25-year-old Lucas Digne as the easy first choice left back following an incredible season at Goodison Park, and coverage from Leighton Baines. Will it be a sale or a Premier League loan for Robinson this season?

Let’s stay with left backs, and look to a team with one of the best in the Premier League. Liverpool have Andy Robertson, but Jurgen Klopp may be ready to pay nearly $58 million to secure depth at the spot.

The name is Junior Firpo, and the Real Betis man has that figure as his release clause. The Dominican Republic 22-year-old has 43 appearances for Betis and has scored five times with seven assists. He’s also played left mid.

Meanwhile, Arsenal is also looking to improve at left back but went a bit low with their opening salvo to Celtic over Bhoys star Kieran Tierney.

Tierney, 22, has 170 appearances at his young age, having scored eight times with 37 assists. Arsenal apparently bid just under $20 million to bring him to the Emirates Stadium.

Consider that Liverpool bought fellow Scottish left back Robertson from Hull City for around $10 million in 2017, and that Robertson captains the Scotland national team while Tierney is not a regular.

The price for players has leapt since that point, and we imagine the deal won’t get done for under $25-30 million if it’s done at all.

Spanish legend Fernando Torres set to end playing career

Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
1 Comment

Fernando Torres is calling it a career.

The Spanish striker, 35, says he’ll announce the details Saturday, midway through Sagan Tosu’s season in Japan. The side sits dead last on the table.

It’s unclear whether he’ll finish the season with J-League club, where he has four goals and two assists in 32 games.

[ MORE: Women’s World Cup power rankings ]

A centurion with Spain, Torres played in three EUROs and three World Cups. He won two of the former to go with the 2010 World Cup triumph in South Africa, and finished his international career with 38 goals in 110 caps.

Torres scored double-digit goals four times with Atletico Madrid before earning a move to Liverpool, where he bagged 24 goals in his first Premier League season and finished third in the 2008 Ballon d’Or voting.

His production dipped massively during his fourth season in England, spent between Liverpool and Chelsea, but he notched 22 goals in all European competitions during the Blues’ tumultuous run out of the Champions League and onto the Europa League winners’ stage.

Torres was twice a member of the FIFPro World XI, and won the UCL and Europa League with Chelsea before claiming the UEL again with Atletico Madrid in 2015-16.

His return to Atletico Madrid had moments to be sure, including an 11-goal La Liga campaign in 2015-16. He also spent half a season on loan to AC Milan, where he scored once in 10 Serie A contests.

Here’s an interesting question: In which shirt will you always remember Torres? Is it the red of Spain, Liverpool, or Atletico Madrid? Or does his time of tumult in Chelsea jump to the front of the fray?

Liverpool’s Klopp reflects more on transfer fee explosion

AP Photo/Rui Vieira

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp can see now that he was wrong in saying he’d quit football when monster transfer fees become the norm.

He’s hinted the same in the past, and he didn’t quit when Liverpool spent as much money as anyone last year (it was clearly a hyperbolic statement anyway), but Klopp expounded on the new climate via Sky Sports.

[ MORE: Rabiot picks Juventus ]

Klopp says that the transfer budget of Bayern Munich when he was manager of Borussia Dortmund felt massive, but that players like his Virgil Van Dijk are being purchased for the cost of that entire budget less than a decade later.

“Maybe things were lost in translation but my point was, if we reach a point where football is solely about money and not football, then I’m leaving; and I still feel the same way about it.

“Liverpool is an ambitious club and if we didn’t spend the same amount of money as others, we wouldn’t be able to compete. Everybody’s splashing the cash, so we have to do the same.”

The European champion is getting there, approaching the point where he admits that the Reds are able to spend as much as any team not called Real Madrid, Manchester City, or Paris Saint-Germain.

We look forward to that, because it’s one of the last unlikable notions held by one of the best managers in the game. He’s a big boy at one of the big boys, and pretending anything different is silly.

Suarez: After UCL defeat to Liverpool, I wanted to ‘disappear from the world’

Getty Images

It’s been more than a month since Liverpool’s stunning 4-0 (and 4-3 on aggregate) victory over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League semifinals, and Luis Suarez apparently still hasn’t gotten over the emotional scarring from his side’s defeat.

“After the elimination in the Champions (League), I wanted to disappear from the world,” Suarez told Fox Sports following Uruguay’s 4-0 rout of ten-man Ecuador in both team’s first match at the Copa America. “They were the worst days of my life and my career along with those from the 2014 World Cup.”

[READ: Man United now say Pogba will stay]

Suarez scored in Uruguay’s win over Ecuador as the Celeste look to win a record 16th Copa America title. It’s actually remarkable that Suarez is playing at all, just six weeks or so shy of major knee surgery to repair his meniscus. Barcelona allowed him to undergo the surgery after the Copa del Rey final and Suarez told reporters Sunday, via ESPN, that he lost 6.6 pounds while training to recover from his injury.

Interestingly, it’s also Suarez’s first appearance at a Copa America in eight years. How can that be? Suarez was serving a 12-month international suspension and thus missed the 2015 Copa America, following his biting incident with Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini that earned him not only a club suspension but also the international one, as Uruguay were bounced from the tournament in Brazil. In 2016, ahead of the Copa America Centenario, Suarez suffered a hamstring injury during Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final. Suarez was included in Uruguay’s 2016 Copa America squad but after two shock defeats, to Mexico and Venezuela, Suarez was left out as Uruguay crashed out of the tournament, his face filled with anguish stuck on the bench watching his team struggle on the pitch without him.

Now, Suarez, if he can put the memory of Anfield on May 7 behind him, Suarez could help a refreshed Uruguay side hit its stride back in Brazil, and potentially challenge for the continental title.