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Rumour Mill: Joel Matip future to be announced this week, Liverpool move “likely”

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The future of long-standing Liverpool target Joel Matip is believed to be revealed this week, with the centre-back rejecting a contract offer from Schalke.

18.09.2011, Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, GER, 1. FBL, FC Schalke 04 vs FC Bayern Muenchen, im Bild Zweikampf Joel Matip (#32 Schalke) - Nils Petersen (#9 Muenchen)// during 1. FBL FC Schalke 04 vs FC Bayern Muenchen at Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, GER, 2011-09-18. EXPA Pictures © 2011, PhotoCredit: EXPA/ nph/ Kurth ****** out of GER / CRO / BEL ******

Matip has been on the Reds’ radar since Jurgen Klopp‘s arrival as manager, and with his contract with Schalke in its last months, he could move to Merseyside on a free transfer this summer.

This is moving ever closer, according to reports in Germany, with a decision to be made this week.

Revier Sport claims that Schalke have made a series of improved contract offers for the Cameroon international, which were “probably in vain.”

Matip is believed to favour a move abroad, and with Liverpool widely reported to be chasing his signature, with little competition, a summer switch to join Klopp’s side is said to be “likely.”

Schalke’s sporting director Horst Heldt announced after Schalke’s 3-0 win over Wolfsburg on Saturday that “next week there will be a decision” on Matip’s future.

With fellow centre-back Benedikt Howedes signing a new long-term contract on Wednesday, this could pave the way for Matip’s exit.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 30, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the FA Cup 4th Round match against West Ham United at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If Matip joins Liverpool this summer, Klopp would be adding a strong, aggressive, versatile defender capable of operating at centre-back, on either defensive flank and at the base of the midfield.

This would largely strengthen a problem area for this season, with Matip likely pencilled in for a centre-back berth.

At 24, Matip has scope to develop into an effective Premier League defender, and as a right-sided option could be expected to partner either Mamadou Sakho or Dejan Lovren at centre-back.

Whether this spells the end for any of Klopp’s other centre-back options remains to be seen, but with Kolo Toure’s own contract set to expire, it is likely that Matip takes the Ivorian’s place in the Liverpool squad.

Matip would provide welcome competition alongside Martin Skrtel, Tiago Ilori and Joe Gomez, and could also cover for Nathaniel Clyne at right-back.

Klopp should continue to focus on the development of Ilori and Gomez in his defensive line, but at 22 and 18 respectively, the duo have time on their side, while Matip represents an immediate solution.

The German would be remiss to ignore Matip’s availability, as he would be a hugely cost-effective addition.

Feature: What does the future hold for Liverpool’s young midfielders?

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