Schalke’s Joel Matip to join Liverpool on free transfer

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Jurgen Klopp has returned to his homeland to grab a new center back.

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Bundesliga side Schalke 04 have confirmed that central defender Joel Matip will join Liverpool in the summer on a free transfer after he turned down a new contract offer.

The move for the towering 6-foot 4-inch Schalke academy product was confirmed by Schalke’s General Manager Horst Heldt.

“His decision is nothing against Schalke. He wants to try something new,” Heldt said.

A pre-contract agreement has been sealed and Matip will arrive at Anfield for nothing on July 1. A brilliant deal for one of the brightest young center backs in the Bundesliga, plus Matip can also play in midfield.

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Matip, 24, is a Cameroon international and the German born center back has reportedly been a long-time target of Klopp who tried to sign him in January. Klopp certainly loves a tall center back — he had two giants at the heart of his Borussia Dortmund defense in Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic — and Matip fits the bill.

Liverpool have been hit hard by injuries at the back since Klopp arrived, but even when everyone is fully-fit the central defensive position does look like a weak spot along with goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

Dejan Lovren, Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel have spent long spells out with injury while Mamadou Sakho has also struggled with injuries but has impressed with his play when he has been healthy. Going forward, when the deal for Matip is confirmed you’d expect him to battle it out with Skrtel and Sakho for the two starting spots. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see one or both of Lovren and Toure let go this summer, especially with the latter coming to the end of his contract at Anfield.