Liverpool have today announced the signing of Joel Matip on a free transfer from Bundesliga side Schalke. The 24-year old defender is out of contract at Schalke after the end if the season and it is now understood that he has agreed to move to the Merseyside on a free transfer in the summer window.
The Cameroon international has 27 caps for his country and is a versatile player who can also play in mid-field apart from the central defensive area.
He came up through the youth ranks of Schalke and made his debut for the club in Bundelsiga at the age of 18. He has since made more than 200 appearances for the German outfit.
In January, the situation was slightly tight for Liverpool as two French clubs were also after the 24-year old. Schalke themselves wanted to renew his contract at the club but after the talks fell through, Matip has now made the move to England.
Liverpool, with a new manager in their side will have to replace some players at the back after the horrific show in the last few months and Jurgen Klopp seems to have identified Matip as the perfect man to lead the Liverpool defense.
Explaining his decision to leave Schalke, Matip said: “I have always said that there is only one reason I would leave Schalke – to experience something completely new.”
“For that reason, I never considered a move to another Bundesliga club.”
“Even though the decision wasn’t easy, I am certain that this is the right moment for me to take the next step in my career.”
Horst Heldt, the Schalke sporting director, said: “His decision is nothing against Schalke. He wants to try something new.”
“We have held extensive discussions with both the player and his agent since May.”
“It became clear very quickly that certain decisive factors meant we would not be able to influence his decision.”
Matip is expected to arrive at Anfield in a 4 year deal and this might mean one of Lovren, Skrtel, Sakho or Toure will give way for the Schalke player.
Matip will follow the Serbian midfielder Marko Grujic, Jurgen Klopp’s first signing as a Liverpool manager to Anfield.
Grujic, recruited in early January for £5.1m on a four-year contract, immediately returned to his former club Red Star Belgrade on loan for the remainder of this season and will rejoin Liverpool this summer.