A bidding war between some of Europe’s top clubs for one of the continent’s most promising young players could happen as early as January.
Genk midfielder Sander Berge, 21, has been linked with a move to Liverpool, who he’s faced twice in the Champions League this season.
He has also been linked with Chelsea as well as Italian clubs Inter Milan and Napoli.
FIFA 20 players will be aware of the Norwegian’s pedigree due to his enormous potential on the game.
But what’s he like in real life? Below you can see everything you need to know about Sander Berge.
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Sander Berge – 2019/20
Position: Defensive midfielder
Belgian Jupiler League appearances: 14
Passes per 90 minutes: 39
Pass success: 81.4 per cent
Key passes per 90 minutes: 0.8
Tackles won per 90 minutes: 1
Dribbles per 90 minutes: 2
*Passes per 90 minutes, pass success, key passes per 90 minutes, tackles won per 90 minutes and dribbles per 90 minutes only account for Champions League matches
What’s the gossip so far?
Genk have accepted they’ll lose Berge at some point with Liverpool and Napoli, who are in the same group as Genk in this season’s Champions League, the frontrunners to land him.
The Belgian side would prefer it if they didn’t have to sell the midfielder midway through the season though.
Genk sporting director Dimitri De Conde said earlier this month: “Napoli are interested in Sander and it’s is a possibility.
“We also know Liverpool follow him carefully. Klopp spoke to the boy after the Anfield game, congratulating him on the performance.
“In Italy there are clubs that follow Berge and Napoli could be one of these, but to date we have no concrete offers on the table. It could even change in the coming weeks.
“Our intention is to hold on to Sander until the end of the season, but we can’t make any predictions. If the big clubs come knocking at our door, we will have to start negotiations, just as the agent has to do.”
Chelsea are also interested in Berge, according to Goal, but will not be able to make a bid for him in January if their two-window transfer ban remains.
Meanwhile, former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, who is now in charge of Inter Milan, was understood to be monitoring him in the summer.
Club career so far
Berge began his professional career at Norwegian second tier club Asker, whom he played for at youth level. He made his debut at the end of the 2013 season aged 16.
He then signed for top flight club Valerenga, making his league debut in July 2015.
His talents were not going unnoticed and he was signed by Genk in January 2017, helping them to the Europa League quarter-finals in 2017/18.
Last season, Genk won the Belgian top flight with Berge playing 28 matches. He has played 90 minutes in all four of their Champions League matches this season.
How much is he likely to cost?
De Conde is obviously reluctant to tell the media about how much Genk want for Berge.
He added: “The current valuation of Berge? We do not talk about figures; we do not set a price at the moment. We will see when we find ourselves in a negotiation.”
However, transfermarkt.com says Berge’s market value currently stands at €22million, which is roughly to £18.8m.
He’s played for his native Norway throughout all the different age groups at youth level and made his senior debut in a World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland in March 2017, aged 19.
Berge scored his first international goal in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Malta in September. Norway have reached the play-off stage for next summer’s finals.
What is being said about him?
Former Genk head coach Albert Stuivenberg
“He is already very mature. He is intelligent, reads the game well, and takes the initiative. He has the potential to become a future leader.”
Norway manager Lars Lagerback
“He is a very young player. He has a good role in his club, where he is on a pretty good level.”
How would he fit in at Liverpool and Chelsea?
If England is Berge’s next destination then it’s likely he’ll sign for Liverpool.
He would not by any means walk into the first team at Anfield as Fabinho is certainly the no.1 option in defensive midfield.
But the Brazilian would be an excellent role model for Berge and he would get the odd run out when Fabinho needs a rest.
Unless the sentence on their transfer ban gets changed, Chelsea would only be able to sign Berge next summer.
However, N’Golo Kante’s future is a constant source of speculation so if the Frenchman were to leave, Berge could slot in a defensive midfield role alongside Jorginho, giving the Blues’ more attacking players license to constantly get forward.
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