The change of heart Liverpool face if they want to enter the battle for Sheffield United's Sander Berge
Liverpool will be performing a u-turn if they enter the race for Sander Berge after refusing to bid for the Sheffield United midfielder before his move to Bramall Lane from Genk.
Despite being linked with a move to Anfield last year, The Star understands that Jurgen Klopp decided not to submit a bid for Berge ahead of his arrival in South Yorkshire 14 months ago, when interest from Serie A posed the biggest threat to United’s chances of capturing the 23-year-old.
Although United are briefing that they have no intention of selling their £22m signing after being relegated from the Premier League - they enter this weekend’s FA Cup tie against Chelsea 14 points adrift of safety with only nine matches of the season remaining - Berge remains likely to depart as part of a restructuring exercise this summer.
The Norway international, who has not featured since severing a hamstring in December, recently revealed his ambition to play Champions League football again after featuring in the competition for the Belgian club.
It was then, after Genk’s visit to Anfield during the last edition of the tournament, that Klopp inadvertently sparked a flurry of speculation by praising Berge’s performance during the group tie.
However, no concrete offer was lodged with officials at the Luminus Arena.
Arsenal and Tottenham, who have both been approached by agents purporting to be capable of negotiating a deal with United, remain at the front of the queue to acquire Berge’s services with at least one other team from London known to be investigating his contractual situation before deciding whether or not to submit a bid. Although Berge could remain with United if no suitable offers are received, sources within the game expect at least one top-flight side to test their resolve when the transfer window reopens.
United, who are searching for a new manager after parting company with Chris Wilder on Saturday, insist they have no plans to arrange a fire sale of talent before returning to the Championship. However, some high-profile members of their squad look certain to depart as they attempt to prolong their careers at the highest level.
United, who are aware that publicly admitting as much would weaken their hand at the negotiating table, have yet to agree a new contract with Berge’s team mate John Lundstram.