Despite a late push by Schalke to hold on to Joel Matip, reports today claim that the 24-year-old Cameroonian international has agreed a pre-contract with Liverpool and will join up in the summer. This follows a flurry of rumours late in the January transfer window that had cast doubt on his future.
In the week leading up to deadline day, reports in Germany claimed Liverpool had made an offer to secure Matip before the close of the window and that with the player having signalled he was determined to leave Schalke were expected to cash in. Schalke, though, quickly and vehemently denied these reports.
The Bundesliga club insisted they still hoped to hold on to Matip long-term, and they put their money where their mouth was by offering to double his wages. The window shut with nobody sure what Matip’s future held. Would he remain at Schalke, where he had spent his entire senior career, or move to England?
According to a series of reports that first appeared in Corriere dello Sport today and have since been picked up in both Germany and England, his future has now been decided, and it lies with Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool, the draw of the Premier League—and, one imagines, its money—too strong to resist.
If true, confirmation from the club would be expected within a few days, as they are able to announce the signing of a pre-contract at any time and would be expected to do so in an attempt to combat the rather sour mood that has taken hold around Anfield in recent days.
News of rising top tier ticket prices, the January window ending with the club having done little, and a loss to Leicester City have made for a rather less than stellar week for the Reds, and news of a top defender in his prime joining on a free would be just the news to combat that.