A long-term target of Jurgen Klopp and a firm favourite to improve the shaky defence at Liverpool FC, Joel Matip has rejected a contract extension at FC Schalke and is likely to join the Reds at Anfield this summer on a free transfer.
The 24-year-old Cameroon international’s contract at the German club ends with the season and he’s being considered a strong candidate to enhance the weakened and inconsistent defence of Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho.
Even though merely 24-year-old, Matip has been a first-team player at FC Schalke since 2009 and has featured in 244 games in all competitions for the club. The club have mostly given up hope of extending the defender’s contract and are going to present him with a final contract offer within the next week.
Getting Joel Matip for free can be a good piece of business for Klopp’s summer transfer window.
Matip might replace Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure, whose own contract is set to expire at the end of this season. The versatile defender can operate at both the centre defensive flanks as well as in the defensive mid area and can prove to be a fierce competition to Tiago Illori, Joe Gomez, Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho.
Liverpool FC’s inconsistent defence has conceded 36 goals in 25 Premier League matches, averaging at 1.44 goals per match. Joel Matip could partner with either Lovren or Sakho and with his versatility and strong and aggressive nature, boost the morale of the entire defence.
It is hard to fathom Klopp missing out on his long-term target as Matip can be a positive influence on his defence and dressing room too.