Liverpool could replicate Van den Berg swoop with potential move for 17y/o on Klopp’s wish list

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Four years on from signing Sepp van den Berg, Liverpool could have eyes on snapping up another up-and-coming centre-back talent from Netherlands.

According to Football Transfers, Ajax defender Jorrel Hato is high on Jurgen Klopp’s wish list at Anfield, with the Reds closely monitoring his performances in Amsterdam.

The 17-year-old is understood to have earned comparisons to Matthijs de Ligt for his playing style and shared position on the pitch, and he’s been the beneficiary of a plethora of defensive departures from the Johan Cruyff Arena this summer, enjoying plenty of game-time in the early weeks of the campaign.

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Liverpool have previous for signing Dutch centre-backs in their teenage years, as illustrated by the 2019 capture of Van den Berg.

Just as the current Mainz loanee had broken through at Zwolle before the Reds moved for him, Hato is already becoming a regular at Ajax, with 20 senior appearances since his debut for the club eight months ago (Transfermarkt).

Although he’s primarily a central defender, he can also play on the left (Transfermarkt), which could give Klopp a younger alternative (or prospective long-term successor) to either Andy Robertson or Kostas Tsimikas if needed.

The 17-year-old was given his Netherlands under-21 debut in recent days in their 3-0 win over Moldova (Transfermarkt), and it’s a sign of his burgeoning talent that he’s playing at that age grade internationally despite not yet reaching his adult years.

Liverpool have already had to navigate the unavailability of multiple centre-backs in the early weeks of the current campaign, and with Joel Matip’s contract expiring next summer, we could potentially be looking for someone in that role to beef up squad depth in 2024.

The emergence of Jarell Quansah and end-of-season recall of loanees Van den Berg and Billy Koumetio could see them included as senior options at Anfield next term, although the rumoured interest in the rapidly maturing Hato is also worth keeping an eye on over the coming months.

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