According to reports in Germany, including from Schalke’s local newspaper, the Bundesliga club have tabled a contract that would double Joel Matip’s wages in an attempt to keep the 24-year-old Cameroonian international from leaving for Liverpool on a free at the end of the summer.
This latest twist will be an unwelcome one for both Liverpool and the club’s fans, who at one point had believed that Schalke could be induced to sell Matip for a nominal fee in January to avoid losing him for nothing when his contract ran out. That option is now entirely off the table, and Matip could soon be, too.
Matip will reportedly decide if he will sign the new deal to stay at Schalke or sign a pre-contract agreement with Liverpool within the week, and Schalke officials have expressed a growing confidence that they might just be able to hold on to Matip. If they do, it would be a blow to Liverpool’s long-term plans.
After starting out at VFL Bochum’s academy, Matip made the move to Schalke as an 18-year-old and was immediately a regular in the first team, making 22 appearances across all competitions in his first season. In the six years since, he has played 240 games for Schalke’s first team and scored 23 goals.
Born in Germany and holding dual citizenship, Matip turned down Cameroon’s first offer of a senior call-up in 2009 before eventually having a change of heart and deciding to represent his father’s homeland in the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. He has since earned 27 caps for Cameroon and scored once.
If Liverpool can in the end manage to pry him away from Schalke for nothing it will be a minor coup given his age and talent. What once seemed a near certainty, though, increasingly appears in doubt, and whether Matip’s future is with Schalke or Liverpool should be clear within the week.