Chelsea enter Berge battle

Reports claim Sheffield United's bid for Genk's Sander Berge was rejected because the midfielder wants to play for a bigger club.

Chelsea have joined the battle to sign Genk midfielder Sander Berge.

Berge has impressed for both Belgian outfit Genk and his country Norway over the last few years and could now be set for a switch to one of Europe’s top leagues.

Liverpool have been tracking the 21-year-old for some time and are expected to firm up their interest with a concrete bid, either in January or at the end of the season.

Italian heavyweights Napoli are also keen and now Chelsea have reportedly entered the fight for his signature.

As it stands, the Stamford Bridge club are unable to sign players in the winter window due to a transfer ban – but they will have an appeal heard by the Court Arbitration for Sport [CAS] this week as they seek to have that sanction overturned.

The outcome of that appeal may be irrelevant in terms of any bid for Berge, though, as Genk technical director Dimitri De Conde has revealed the club would rather keep hold of him until the end of the season.

Berge is due to fall out of contract in 2021 and as such Genk accept they will have to sell, either in January or at the end of the campaign, but De Conde says they are prepared to hold on until the summer – even if that means they receive a smaller fee.

Speaking of Napoli’s interest, De Conde said: “These are situations we can’t predict, we’re focused on our season, hoping to keep Sander until May. Then if a top club like Napoli is serious, we will sit at the same table to negotiate, it is logical.”

Berge has previously indicated he would be keen on a move to Liverpool but it looks as if Chelsea are ready to rival the Anfield club and Napoli for his signature ahead of the January transfer window.

There is a chance Genk could agree to sell Berge in the winter window but keep the player until the end of the season, in a similar move that saw Christian Pulisic leave Borussia Dortmund for Stamford Bridge earlier this year.