Two months after they were first linked with a move for him and two weeks after the close of the January transfer window, Liverpool have finally gotten their man, with the club having agreed a pre-contract with Joel Matip that will see the 24-year-old centre half arrive at Anfield on a free in the summer.
The Schalke defender, who has spent his entire senior career at the club after graduating from their youth ranks, had been struggling with the decision as to whether he should stay in the Bundesliga or move to Anfield next season. In recent weeks, multiple reports out of Germany claimed he was leaning towards Liverpool.
Attempts by Liverpool to bring him in before the summer for a nominal fee were rebuffed by Schalke, who remained hopeful right until the end that Matip might sign a new deal. With the weeks passing and Matip still on the fence, some even began to wonder if Liverpool were just being used to get a better deal with Schalke.
In the end, though, those fears were unfounded. As confirmed by Matip's current club, the deal has been done; Liverpool have captured their centre half. Joel Matip has agreed a pre-contract deal with, and he will arrive at the club when his current contract expires in the summer.
Matip joined Schalke’s academy at nine years of age and rose through the youth ranks at the German club before breaking through to the first team in 2009. Since then, he has played 240 games for Die Königsblauen. Though born in Germany, Matip chose to represent Cameroon, for whom he has made 27 appearances.
His signing has to be seen as a minor coup for Liverpool, as the club will be bringing in a 24-year-old centre half on a free who on the open market he would likely fetch around £15-20M.