Joel Matip was the subject of surprise speculation over a move to Paris Saint-Germain over the weekend, with a number of English outlets now picking up the dubious story.
Matip is coming off the back of a frustrating season that saw him make just 13 appearances for Liverpool, with his campaign ending prematurely due to a foot injury.
It is a familiar situation for the 28-year-old, who has proved an excellent servant for the Reds since his free transfer from Schalke in 2016, only for his consistency to be hampered by fitness issues.
On Saturday, a tweet from Twitter account @JordanM_Choco claimed PSG manager Thomas Tuchel and sporting director Leonardo are interested in Matip, and had contacted the centre-back’s representatives.
— Jordan M (@JordanM_Choco) August 1, 2020
It even suggested that PSG winger Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had contacted his fellow Cameroon international to advocate a move to the French capital.
The story has since been relayed by the Liverpool Echo among others, and somewhere along the way a price tag of £50 million has been mooted, with fans discussing the story on social media:
If PSG bid £50m for Matip, would you keep or sell?
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) August 3, 2020
If we you think we should even entertain the idea of selling Joel Matip, you’re not well.
— – (@AnfieldRd96) August 2, 2020
Seriously, though, I wouldn’t countenance selling Joel Matip. He’s had his injury issues, but lots have been unlucky(like falling awkwardly against Napoli last season). Experienced, brilliant in the air and excellent on the ball. Also seems cool with rotating. Full package.
— John O'Sullivan (@NotoriousJOS) August 2, 2020
— LFCZA ?? (@LFCZA) August 2, 2020
Matip starts ahead of Gomez for me, so why would we sell him ????? he ain’t going anywhere ??
— Keith Jones (@Kjones1892) August 3, 2020
Matip is 29 next week. He’s also never had a full season for us without missing significant time with injury. If we were offered £50m+ for a third-choice centre back in that situation, we’d have to sell, however good he is.
— Don Kopleone (@donkopleone) August 2, 2020
Good luck to PSG if they want to negotiate for Matip … Edwards be leaving in a taxi with Mbappe, Neymar and Verratti
— Andy (@AndyTheRed83) August 2, 2020
At this point, it seems highly unlikely that Liverpool would consider selling Matip, and though a £50 million offer would surely impact this, the dubious nature of the rumour suggests that is fanciful.
Firstly, the way in which the story has developed—from a tweet, to a series of stories, to a full-blown ‘£50m swoop’ according to the ever-doubtful TEAMtalk—is particularly questionable.
There has been no corroboration from reliable journalists, with this being a prime example of how valuable transfer rumours are to tabloids, regardless of whether or not there is any truth in them.
Klopp’s faith in Matip was underlined as the club sanctioned a new five-year contract for the defender in October.
The length of his extension—which will have included a pay rise and keeps him at Anfield until 2024, by which time he will be a month shy of 33—is a signal of his importance.
While his injury record may be a concern, there is clearly a belief that these are not a long-term concern—he has, after all, made 30 or more appearances in each of the previous three seasons—and that when called upon he will be able to perform.
To allow both Lovren and Matip to leave would be negligent, particularly as there appears to be little money to spend in the transfer market this summer.