Reports are that Schalke veteran Joel Matip will be signing a pre-transfer agreement with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool FC to begin play for the iconic club beginning next summer. The central defender, 24, will not be moving in the current transfer window, according to S04 Coach Andre Breitenreiter, though LFC need immediate defensive help.
I can rule out a winter departure. I am wishing for more competition between the players in the Ruckrunde [second half of the season]. We need that to maximise their performances
Schalke, currently sixth in the Bundesliga table with the second half of the season beginning next weekend, are also competing in the knockout stages of the Europa League this winter/spring, increasing the club’s wishes to keep the regular until the end of the season.
Matip was born in Bochum of a German mother and Cameroonian footballer Jean Matip, while Joel’s brother, Marvin, plays in the Bundesliga for FC Ingolstadt. The 6’4″ centerback came up in Schalke’s vaunted youth system and now features in right central defense for the Royal Blues. He has played in 243 Schalke matches in all competitions, 177 of which have been in Bundesliga league play, and has never played for another club professionally.
During his career, Matip has scored 16 goals, making him an offensive threat as well as a very sound man in the center of the backline. During the first half of this season, the defender has scored two goals, both headers, and had an assist while winning 74% of his aerial challenges and an overall 64% win rate in all challenges. His passing success rate is very good, too, as he completed 84% of his 868 attempts. Matip also created 28 scoring chances for Schalke this season while starting every league match, and only has picked up two yellow cards in his 1530 minutes of Bundesliga play in 2015/2016.
Klopp is very familiar with Matip’s abilities, as Kloppo’s former club, Borussia Dortmund, pair with Schalke in the biggest rivalry in German football. Matip would also bring to LFC the experience of 42 matches in European play and 27 international matches for Cameroon.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images