Liverpool did not make any major additions to their squad during the January transfer window but it is expected that Jürgen Klopp would be active in the transfer market during the summer. Reports also suggest that Schalke defender, Joel Matip will join Liverpool in the upcoming transfer market.
Matip’s contract expires at the end of this season and the players has long been on Liverpool’s radar. The Anfield side offered him a four-year deal with his first contract.
Official confirmation arrived this afternoon, with the Shalke confirming Matip would leave the club at the end of the season, and Liverpool confirming that he would move to Merseyside, where he will sign a four-year contract.
Horst Heldt, Schalke manager, said: “Since May last year we have had many intensive discussions, both with Joel and his advisor. It was soon clear that factors we could not influence would be decisive in Joel’s decision.
“Unfortunately we can’t move Schalke into the Premier League, otherwise I think he’d probably have renewed his contract with us. So it’s just about learning something new, maybe re-defining himself. It goes without saying that we’re all very sad today, but it was always clear that Joel would make a fundamental decision for his footballing career.”
Defender confirmed his decision with press release. “I have always said that I would only leave Schalke for one reason: to get to know something new,” he said.
“I never even considered a move within the Bundesliga. “Although my decision is definitely not easy, I am convinced that now is the right time to take this step. Schalke 04 will remain a big family for me. I was always proud to play for this great club.
“I think now is the time to try something new, to go abroad to a traditional club in a superb league; I’m excited for what’s coming in summer. But for now I’m focusing on the here and now in Schalke. I will do everything in the next few months to get the most out of this season so I do not feel guilty.”
The 24-year-old has a central defensive role at Schalke and covers mostly the right side. Standing at a height of 6ft 3in Matip is a dominating presence in the defensive line-up. His versatility allows for him to play a defensive midfield role when called upon. He has a passing accuracy of 90% in the three Champions League appearances he has made this season. The defender has also managed to find the net three times in his 21 Bundesliga appearances so far.
What makes him a wanted man at Liverpool is his tackling capabilities and ball interceptions. The ability to read his opponent has made him a strong defender. His role in the team has been influential, being one of the reasons Schalke has moved up to fifth in the Bundesliga this season, two points behind third place.
Born in Germany he represents Cameroon on international level. He has made 27 appearances for Cameroon and scored one goal which came against Brazil in the 2014 World Cup.
The player will prove crucial for Liverpool, if Jürgen Klopp signs the player from Schalke. Not only will he provide a strong defensive stance, but Matip can also act as creative defensive midfielder, often scoring a goal or two.
Liverpool are currently 8th in the Premier League, with 38 points, nine points behind fourth place Manchester City. They will face Everton in their next Premier League fixture, followed by another home game against Manchester City. It would be difficult for Klopp’s side to squeeze into the top four by the end of the season.