Liverpool announced on Thursday that they have signed 17-year-old Sepp van den Berg from Eredivisie club PEC Zwolle.
Van den Berg is widely regarded as one of the best young defenders in world football, and Liverpool beat multiple teams to his signature.
Van den Berg, who made 15 Eredivisie appearances last season, arrives at Liverpool as one of the most highly-rated young defenders in European football.
The Reds beat Ajax, Bayern Munich and PSV Eindhoven to sign Van den Berg, with the deal rumoured to make Zwolle around £1.8million. Bonus payments could increase the total value of the deal, however, if certain clauses are met.
Van den Berg has revealed Liverpool’s interest came as a surprise to him, admitting to Liverpool’s official website:
“I couldn’t believe it, I thought it was a joke!
“I was really happy and, to be honest, I was a little bit scared at first because such a big club had interest in me.
“So, I was a little bit scared but eventually I was really excited.”
Van den Berg’s transfer will be formally completed on July 1, with Liverpool understood to be paying an initial £1.3m.
The fee for the Netherlands U19 centre-back could eventually rise above £4m, depending on how many Premier League and European appearances he goes on to make for the Champions League holders.
After making Van den Berg their first signing of the summer, Liverpool insist that while they will be looking to develop him, he is not considered an ‘academy’ signing.