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Klopp: "Matip Was An Easy Choice"

Jürgen Klopp discussed the signing of defender Joel Matip on a free transfer this summer.

Martin Rose/Getty Images

It's no secret to anyone with eyes who has maybe caught bits and pieces of Liverpool games here and there that the team is really struggling in defense. To the club's credit, they've started working early to begin fixing this problem for next season. Their first summer signing has already been announced in February.

Joel Matip has agreed to sign for Liverpool in the summer when his contract runs out with Schalke. The Cameroon center-back will have played in the Bundesliga for six seasons by then, at only 24-years-old.

When speaking about this new signing, Jurgen Klopp spoke positively about the player, and how he believes that Liverpool have gotten excellent value for their money in beating the competition to getting his signature.

"It was an easy choice," Klopp said. "He's 24, he's played around 200 Bundesliga games, he's played Champions League, played Europa League and was a German Cup winner in 2011.

"He wanted a new challenge and he's made big steps in his development in the last few years.

"He's become a really experienced centre-half – tall at 1.98m, but flexible and quick. A perfect header of the ball, he scores four or five goals a season, and is good in the build-up.

"I know in England it is really difficult to sign a player without paying a transfer fee but I thought it cannot be a reason not to take him just because you cannot put a number behind his name.

The manager, who spent his whole career playing and managing in Germany, knows a thing or two about the Bundesliga, and had this to say about the demand there for someone of Matip's talents:

"If you asked in Germany what other clubs would have paid for him had he still been under contract, you can just take that number.

"It's clear there were a lot of other clubs interested. In Germany, for a player of his quality, who is out of contract, there is a lot of competition.

"Maybe Schalke aren't too famous in England but in Germany they're a big club who have played the last four or five years in the Champions League. They made him a big offer to stay, they wanted to keep him.

"There are probably only three or four clubs in Germany who could get a player like Matip when he is at Schalke – Dortmund, and that's not possible, Bayern, maybe Leverkusen and maybe Wolfsburg. Finish. The rest, no chance. Then you have to think about other countries and that is what he wanted to do, and we moved early enough. You should watch him on YouTube."

Leaving aside the fact that Liverpool's manager just single-highhandedly encouraged the creation of at least 200 new Joel Matip Best of compilations on Youtube, his genuine excitement about his new signing is heartening. In fact, he answered yes when asked directly if Matip was his choice, rather than the choice of the transfer committee.

Liverpool fans will have to wait until the pre-season to see if Klopp's high hopes for Matip come to pass.

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