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.
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.
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.
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.
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.